Juice with a difference that makes a difference – that’s the thinking behind this range of apple-juice based drinks says founder, David Lindgren
HOW DID HUMBLEBEE COME ABOUT?
I set up the business when I decided to escape the corporate world that I had worked in for about 30 years. Gloucestershire was once a major fruit-growing area of England but, like many other parts of the country, the fruit-growing industry declined during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, even more so than in other counties, such as Herefordshire or Somerset.
WHERE DOES THE NAME COME FROM?
The name for the brand initially comes from a hill where we walk our dog, Pippi, close to our home in Winchcombe. Also, Charles Darwin referred to bumblebees as ‘humble-bees’, and given that we wanted to support the Bumblebee Conservation Trust the name seemed appropriate.
WHAT MAKES YOUR JUICES DIFFERENT FROM OTHER JUICES OUT THERE?
Our apple juice is 100% natural pressed apple juice, with nothing added, nothing taken away, milled and pressed in the morning, bottled and pasteurised in the afternoon.
WHERE DO YOU SOURCE YOUR INGREDIENTS?
Apple juice is the major ingredient in all of Humblebee juices and we only use unsprayed apples gathered from gardens and traditional orchards in Gloucestershire: unsprayed, because we want to use fruit that is as natural as possible and that hasn’t harmed the environment; gardens, because many / most households with fruit trees don’t / can’t use the fruit, so we use it (in exchange for free juice or cider); traditional orchards because they are havens of biodiversity and contain the remnants of Gloucestershire’s fruit-growing tradition; and Gloucestershire, because it’s our home county and we want to keep food miles as low as possible.
The strawberry, raspberry and rhubarb juice we use in Humblebee Refresher is freshly packed juice from England (so NOT imported) and is NEVER from concentrate.
WHY SHOULD WE BE CONCERNED ABOUT OUR BEE POPULATION?
‘If the bee disappeared off the face of the Earth, man would only have four years left to live’. A quote incorrectly attributed to Einstein, but it does give an indication of the importance to bees in pollinating not only our fruit trees but also a host of other plants, such as peas and beans. In 2012, it was estimated that it would cost UK farmers 1.8 billion per year to replace the pollination services that bees provide for free.
YOU ARE A MEMBER OF TRUST JUICE – WHAT IS THAT?
It’s a partnership set up by me and two other orchardists (Martin Hayes and Alison Parfitt), whereby we supply my business with fruit, in exchange for which we get free apple juice, which is sold under the Trust Juice brand name, and all proceeds are donated to organisations involved with traditional orchards in Gloucestershire. It’s one of the ways in which we try to help conserve traditional orchards in our home county.
WHICH IS YOUR BEST SELLING DRINK?
Apple and Rhubarb Refresher.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR HUMBLEBEE?
We are looking to expand the range of flavours we offer with gooseberry – but will insist that apple juice made from unsprayed Gloucestershire apples is the main ingredient and also that all other ingredients come from the United Kingdom, to ensure that food miles are kept as low as possible.
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