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Kiwis. What came first – the bird or the fruit?

We travel far and wide to source the finest fruit for our drinks, which can take us to sunny places, rainy places, and, occasionally, downright explosive places. We stay as close to the fruit as we can to make sure it’s as tasty and responsibly sourced as possible, and our kiwis, odd-looking and slightly hairy as they may be, are no exception.

 

We make a purée from our kiwis to use in drinks like these. Because we don’t want to waste any kiwi, we actually use the whole fruit, from the seeds to the fuzzy coating. Nobody wants a fuzzy purée, so, to avoid this, we carefully wash the fruit and then sieve it several times which ensures that the purée tastes as delicious and hairless as a purée made from bald kiwis would be.

It’s important not to be ‘that guy’ who only bangs on about fruit, so we ask other important questions to our growers in New Zealand. Like whether the bird was named after the fruit or the fruit after the bird. We’re chuffed to confirm that (drumroll) it was in fact the fruit that was named after the bird. Ages ago, somewhere in New Zealand, someone decided to name the local birds ‘kiwis’. Then, the word ‘kiwi’ was applied as a nickname to things from New Zealand, the world largest producer of kiwi. One day, the Chinese gooseberry was renamed as ‘kiwi fruit’ for marketing purposes in New Zealand. The rest is history.

So that’s one of the big questions answered. Use it (in pub quizzes) wisely.

this film is bananas

Whether you love them or hate them, bananas are the unsung heroes of the smoothie-making game. We've been adding bananas into our smoothies since 1999, and we get through absolutely loads of them every year. To protect the farmers and the local environment where they're grown, we only use bananas from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. We've made a short video about why we think it's really important for the planet, and you can watch it right here:

congratulations to our sow & grow winners

Recently we finished up the innocent Sow & Grow. Our campaign to help get kids growing their own veg and learn more about where food comes from. We sent seeds and growing kits to 100,000 kids in over 3,000 schools to help them develop healthy habits that could last for life.

Of course, being British, we couldn’t exactly have lots of people growing stuff without turning it into some sort of competition. Gardening competitions are an important part of life and who are we to break with tradition? So we got our fancy pens and clipboards out, read through all the school’s growing diaries and looked for the veg that impressed us the most.

After much searching we chose Horsenden Primary School. Their cress was incredible, their peas were perfect, their spinach was good enough for Popeye. We packed up the grassy van with their prizes and headed over.

It turned out that Horsenden used to have a vegetable patch but ran out of money to keep it going. Now, thanks to their winning the innocent Sow & Grow, they’ve got gardening tools, a brand new wheelbarrow and loads of seeds to help them get it started up again.

“Taking part in Sow and Grow has been, without a doubt, the highlight of the academic year for my class.,” said Miss Wright, a teacher at the school. “It is rare to find a project that can engage a whole class and draw enthusiasm from even the most reluctant of learners, but the Sow and Grow initiative certainly achieved that. From planting the seeds to harvesting our small crops, every child was excited to get their hands dirty and learn as much as they could about growing their own food.”

And, just this morning, they sent us one of the best thank you cards we’ve ever received. A story about the ‘smart smoothie summery tree’, hand drawn pictures of all the kids and, to top it all off, a proper pop-up made entirely of fruits. It’s already done the rounds in Fruit Towers to a chorus of ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’.

A huge thanks to everyone who took part this year and congratulations again to Horsenden Primary School. You’re the best (at growing stuff).

We won an award

A few weeks ago we won a Guardian Sustainable Business Award. "When are you going to stop going on about it?" you ask. "Never," we reply. Here’s a video of our CEO Douglas talking to The Guardian about why we’re so excited about it

 

we'd like to thank the academy

A couple of weeks back we told you we’d been nominated for a Guardian Sustainable Business Award for a project to reduce the amount of water used to grow our strawberries. This little film explains what the project was about:

We had our gracious loser face down to a fine art by the time we made our way to the ceremony, but, to our complete shock, we actually went and won the thing. No award is complete without an acceptance speech, so we’ve asked Jess, who leads our sustainability team, to say a few words:

“We are beyond thrilled to have won this award. We have been working with our Spanish farmers and the University of Cordoba for six and a half years to reduce the amount of water used in strawberry growing and, in doing so, protect the wetlands of the Doñana National Park. Our little project has grown from working with just four farmers, to now influencing the water management of 87% of all the strawberry farms (even though we only buy 1% of the strawberries grown on them.)  It proves that even if your idea starts small, if you find the right solution, and get everyone involved, you can make a big difference.  We are now sharing what we’ve learned with our berry farmers in Poland, and will see if we can use it with other fruits in the future too.”

The award itself is pretty special, and has taken pride of place on our Reception desk here in Fruit Towers:

 

As a business we’ve always wanted to leave things a bit better than we found them, so we’re really proud to be recognised for making a difference. We know there’s loads more we could do though, and we still have a long way to go before everything we do is award-worthy. We’ve got lots of exciting plans to get even greener in the next few years, so watch this space.

Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to the after party.