OUR GROWING HISTORY

We are very proud of our heritage. Many of us have grown blackcurrants for generations and have seen the crop picked by hand and many of us are now embracing new technologies that will protect this land for generations to come. All of us have a passion for blackcurrants and the artistry that comes from nurturing this magical berry with each season that passes.

THE SCIENCE BIT

We work with some very clever folk at the James Hutton Institute who use some nifty science to cultivate varieties that will suit our great British weather, land and environment.

Located in Scotland it is an interesting fact that our blackcurrant varieties are named after its majestic mountains. A constant research programme means they are always creating new varieties so that our growers can produce better fruit that is better for us!

PLANTING TO PICKING

Planting begins in the early months of the year when our hardy little cuttings are planted by hand. It will be three years before our growers see fruit on these plants so they have to be very dedicated and patient.

As the warm spring weather arrives so does the green haze, this is when we see new growth on the plant’s woody frame. Whilst there is not much attention needed on the bushes themselves, our growers set to work in the field to encourage beneficial bugs, bees and birds to thrive.

HEDGEROWS

The hedgerows provide a natural shelter for our crops, along with providing food, shelter and breeding sites for our wildlife. By trimming hedges no more than one year in every two (during January and February only) we ensure food remains available to support wildlife through the winter months.

FEATHERED FRIENDS

Our farmers are avid bird watchers and we often report on the beautiful birds that visit our fields every day. By erecting nest boxes around the fields with an average of one box per hectare of blackcurrants, we can provide shelter and safety from egg predators, allowing our feathered friends to flourish.

KEEPING IT WILD

Our growers do like a walk on the wild side. Whilst our fruit is busy growing we keep the grassland that runs alongside our bushes as wild as we can, so that means no mowing. This grassy blanket is an ideal habitat for our friendly bumble bees and is also a great refuge for brown hares and grey partridges.

FLOWER POWER

As the long days of summer approach our growers look forward to a blanket of colour on the field rows as our wildflowers turn their faces to the sunshine. We have created a special mix of flowers that support our bee population as well as other essential beasties and natural predators who help bring us a rich and fruitful crop at harvest time.

HARVEST

The great British blackcurrant harvest is short but of course sweet! Depending on the weather we usually begin harvesting  in the South of the UK. Staggering our harvest means we have a steady supply throughout the season and that our berries reach their destination in tip top condition.

Over 90% of our blackcurrants are used by Ribena to create a taste that is famous throughout the world. Harvest time lasts until mid-August at which point our berries are a rich dark purple signifying the powerhouse of vitamins and antioxidants within that make them so good for us all.

STarting life in wales

Every blackcurrant is born in the majesty of the Welsh hills. 
In a cosy fruit nursery amongst the Radnorshire hills of east Wales our blackcurrant cuttings are nurtured ready for the field. It has unsurpassed isolation from other fruit growing areas and these very healthy conditions allow them to the very best fruit stocks. It is a small family business that prides itself on the health and character of the cuttings which are taken from inspected and certified parent stocks  which means we can be assured they will thrive once planted, as the three year wait to maturity begins!

SEAL OF APPROVAL

Partnering with The Wildlife Trusts and the Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group Association (FWAG) helps our growers to produce blackcurrants in the most conscientious way possible.

The FWAG independently audit and advise on the Countryside Stewardship Scheme, ensuring it is as robust as possible. The scheme has seen vulnerable species protected, including bumble bees, water vole, yellow hammer and skylark birds. Three Blackcurrant Foundation farms have also recorded annual sightings for 12 years of the grey partridge bird – a “Red Listed” endangered species.

FWAG will be working in collaboration with Lucozade Ribena Suntory’s agronomist to offer support to each blackcurrant grower on how to improve their sustainability actions. This will involve an assessment of key environmental features and habitats on each farm, identification of rare and threatened species and an assessment of the wider farm environment including issues relating to soil and water.