On Saturday, Bill Wiggin MP joined over 100 Herefordshire locals at the Ribena Big Berry Bash; the biggest ever pick-your-own event at Corbett Farms, Shobdon.
Activities on offer included pick-your-own, farm tours, harvesting demonstrations, a hog roast and garden games, all in the name of the blackcurrant harvest which kicks off in July when the berries are ripe enough to pick.
Visitors also saw first-hand how the 1,200-acre farm has worked with Ribena to protect local habitats, wildlife and threatened native species including barn owls, yellowhammers, grey partridges, bees and woodpeckers.
Bill Wiggin comments: “Herefordshire’s agricultural heritage is an important part of our community, so I’m delighted the local community was offered a behind-the-scenes look at the blackcurrant harvest at this year’s Big Berry Bash.
“With 2.5k tonnes of blackcurrants grown in Herefordshire each year, it was fascinating to learn about the important steps Richard and the other Ribena blackcurrant growers are taking to protect the wildlife on their farms. Richard’s commitment to farming in the most sustainable way possible speaks volumes about why Herefordshire and Ribena continue to enjoy a fruitful relationship which spans more than eight decades.”
Third generation blackcurrant grower, Richard Corbett, said: “People came out in full force this weekend and we couldn’t believe the amount of interest in our blackcurrants. Few people enjoying a Ribena realise that its hero ingredient is actually grown right on their doorstep, not least the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure we’re growing blackcurrants sustainably.”
Once picked, the blackcurrants are sent to Somerset to be pressed before heading to the Lucozade Ribena Suntory factory in Gloucestershire to be made into Ribena. Around 20,000 litres of blackcurrant concentrate are stored in the factory’s giant cold store before it is refilled with the next annual fruit crop.