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Thoughts from category: good business

well behaved pineapples

We like to buy fruit from farms that make that extra effort to look after their workers and the environment. So we've been buying Rainforest Alliance certified bananas for a while now, and are keen to get our pineapples certified as well. However, at the moment there are no farms certified to the standard to provide them to us. Our Jess went to visit pineapple growers in Costa Rica recently, to learn more about pineapple farming, and to understand what actions were needed to get the farms certified.

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After a bit of research and chatting to the farmers, it seems that the three main areas the farms are working on are conserving biodiversity, protecting the soil from erosion and worker safety. So we'll be working closely with the farms and auditors from the Rainforest Alliance over the next few months on these three main areas, and will hopefully get that certification. Oh yes.

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Yolanda and Francisco (Rainforest Alliance auditors), and our Jess

A word about the pineapples we'll be buying...they're called Mayan Gold and are really juicy and sweet. The plants and the pineapples are very prickly on the outside, so you have to wear special clothes when picking them, to protect your skin. The pineapples are prone to sunburn if they're on the outside of the plant, which means that they don't look so pretty but they still taste great.

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the herd is growing

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You might have heard of or seen our cow vans, which roam the country carrying our drinks from one place to another.

Trevor emailed us to say that he'd seen something similar (see image above) in a field alongside the M5 towards Bristol, and wondered whether it was something to do with us. It's not, but these cow bins are a great idea set up by Taylor Cow Bins to encourage recycling in both primary and secondary schools.

I cycle past some in East London on my way to Fruit Towers every morning and have often pondered over their origin, so I'm very grateful to Trevor and to Taylor Cows for solving and creating the mystery respectively.

The Beeb picked up on it too, so you can read more here.

we won a green prize

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We just won a special new prize. Now, as you know, not only do we like to buy the best tasting fruit, but we also try to buy it from farms which look after both the environment and their workers. To help us do that, we work with the Rainforest Alliance, an international non-profit organisation that protects ecosystems and the people and wildlife that live within them.

Last week it was the Rainforest Alliance's 20th birthday, and at the celebrations we were lucky enough to receive their Green Globe Award for businesses that "demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to furthering sustainability by integrating environmental and social sustainability into their work."

They only gave out three such prizes worldwide, so we were honoured to win. We promise to carry on being good and doing good, even if Rich and Adam did look like scruffy b*ggers when picking up the prize.

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(l-r Patrick Swayze, Gareth Gates, James Bond)

We'd also like to take this opportunity to introduce you to Carlos Vega, the new Fruit Supply Coordinator with the Rainforest Alliance (we helped provide the funding for his role). Carlos will be helping us buy more Rainforest Alliance certified fruit, including pineapple, orange, acai and acerola.

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He's Costa Rican, loves laptops with big screens, and enjoys a double can of beer before he goes to bed. He knows the fruit industry inside out and is going to be invaluable to us in our quest for more certified fruit.

super jam

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Today we met Fraser. He's not even 20 yet, but he's launched a product - Super Jam - that's available in most branches of Waitrose nationwide and in other fine stores closer to his home in Scotland. The deal is that his Super Jam is sugar free, which is unusual for a jam. He's been making jam for ages, but decided a while ago that he'd get serious about it, rather than continuing to make a mess of his parents' kitchen.

It's inspirational and frightening meeting people like Fraser.

Inspirational because it gives us a kick up the backside and helps us remember why we started innocent in the first place - because we wanted to make stuff that made life a little bit better and a little bit easier.

Frightening because we're old enough to be his dad (just).

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yorkshire tea

Having been born in Yorkshire, I am a little biased, but it does seem to be the best county in the UK. This sentiment was only confirmed the other day when we received this note and pile of fine products from the good people at Yorkshire Tea, all because they'd read that our kitchen was out of action.

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It were right kind of them.