This summer we've partnered with British, family run business, Belvoir Fruit Farms on their 'Freebees' promotion (look out for promotional bottles in your nearest Waitrose, Ocado, Booths or Sainsburys as well as local farm shops and delicatessens and be in with the chance of winning some bee-autiful Bee Good products!)
As we speak, the team at Belvoir are hard at work on their largest annual community event - the picking of elderflowers for their delicious Elderflower cordials. Pev Manners, MD of Belvoir Fruit Farms kindly took time out to tell us a little more about this great British business.
Q1. From one British brand to another - tell us a little about Belvoir Farms...
The Belvoir Elderflower cordial started in the family kitchen where as a young boy my sisters and I would help mum infuse the blossoms we picked from wild elderflower bushes around the family farm. The recipe is said to have been given to mum by our family friend, Lady Astor of Cliveden. Initially it was drunk just by friends of the family but it soon proved so popular that we saw a fantastic opportunity and offered it more widely and in 1984 we became the first commercial producer of Elderflower cordial in the UK. Today all Belvoir’s products are still hand-made using all natural ingredients and no artificial preservatives, additives or sweeteners.
Q2. We love your Elderflower picking campaign which springs into action next month, can you explain a little more about how you involve your local community in your ingredient sourcing?
The elderflower harvest is THE most important time of the year for us and we crucially need to pick enough of those frothy elderflower blossoms to transform into our naturally lovely Elderflower Cordial. This year the already fleeting harvest of four to six weeks could be a few precious days less thanks to the vagaries of Mother Nature.
It has been quite a cold spring but with the recent warm weather we are, hopefully, getting back on track so I’m predicting the harvest will start around the bank holiday (31st May); it usually begins around 26t May so we have lost a few vital days. We really need as many people as possible to help gather in this year’s crop and I’m hoping that as the start of harvest looks like it will fall in half term, we might see families coming for a day out and to earn some extra money. Find out more here.
Q3. You're supporting the BBKA's Friends of the Honeybee' campaign with your current 'FreeBees' promotion. Why are bees important to your business?
Since ancient times the blooming of the delicate lacy elderflower has heralded the arrival of summer and those balmy, lazy days we long for. From around the middle of May the British hedgerows erupt into a frothy creamy explosion of saucer-sized blossoms, heavy with pollen and alive with the gentle hum of bees packing their baskets with the precious golden powder. Every year, Belvoir Fruit Farms gathers in this heady harvest to make our mouth-watering and award winning Elderflower Cordial and Elderflower Pressé, made to the same family recipe for over 30 years.
This year to welcome the elderflower harvest and celebrate the vital work of our busy buzzy friends, we are working with Friends of the Honey Bee. Our on-pack highlights our support of this very worthwhile cause, and we will do this by making a donation to help fund the education of children on the importance of bees.
We’ve called our promotion Belvoir FreeBees, asking our customers to ‘free your bee to win’. Each promotional bottle of Elderflower Presse purchased will enable the drinker to ‘release a bee’ at www.belvoirfreebees.co.uk and whichever prize the bee lands on, the drinker wins. Every player will win a lovely beauty or wellbeing prize including Bee Good products of course, and could win a luxury spa day at a Champney’s Spa.
It’s essential for the making of Belvoir’s products for the balance of nature be maintained and so to help highlight to the next generation the importance of the honey bee to the environment and the threat they are under from the use of pesticides and certain farming methods, is very important to Belvoir. We have very good relations with local bee keepers whose bees love our organic elderflower plantations and the naturally occurring elderflowers in the hedgerows around Belvoir. However, we want to do more to help bees and beekeepers around the country and working with the Friends of the Honey Bee seems a good way to do it. We hope people will enjoy our FreeBees promotion with the chance to have a bit of fun while doing some good.
Q4. What is your favourite summer drink?
Because it reminds me of my days spent as a child picking elderflowers, my favourite drink has to be our Elderflower Cordial. I like it diluted with lots of chilled water served over lots of ice with a slice of lemon, so it is even more refreshing and thirst quenching but still has that lovely gentle floral, lemony taste. For something a little bit different, we've shared some of our favourite cocktail recipes here - perfect for a refreshing treat at the end of a long summer's day!