Leicestershire firm completes elderflower harvest in just 2 weeks

Leicestershire family-ran cordial producer Belvoir Fruit Farms has announced it has already surpassed its target of fresh elderflowers just two weeks into its planned month-long harvest.

Demand for its premium elderflower cordial soared by 15% in the grocery sector during the coronavirus lockdown.

The drinks company estimated it needed between 15 and 20t of picked elderflowers during June, calling on willing volunteers local its Leicestershire base to lend their support to pick the volume of product needed to last until the 2021 harvest.

The local community responded in their droves, and within two weeks the company recorded 23t of elderflowers at its Bottesford factory – more than enough product to produce the drink for the next 12 months. As a result, the firm has closed its harvest drop-off in record time.

Pev Manners, managing director of Belvoir Fruit Farms, said: “This is undoubtedly a year like no other and we’ve been blown away by the willingness from the local community to still lend their support to this year’s harvest.

“I think it’s fair to say that – given the circumstances surrounding this year’s harvest and social distancing measures – we were cautious in our tonnage targets, but to not only meet it but exceed it in the space of two weeks is truly humbling.

We put stringent social distancing measures in place at the start of the harvest and I couldn’t be more grateful to our dedicated pickers for wholeheartedly following them.

“Of course, a special mention must also go to our staff, who were outstanding in their operation of the factory drop-off process and ensured that, despite this year’s challenging conditions, we have made it a year to remember.”

Elderflowers used to create the company’s much-loved cordials and pressés include both organic elderflowers from the company’s 60ac plantation and from wild hedgerows across the county.

The elderflower cordial and pressé drinks are still based on the Manners family’s original recipe, developed more than four decades ago.

Belvoir Fruit Farms employs 85 people at its Bottesford-based headquarters and has expanded its beverages to include a wide range of flavours across its cordials and presses.

The brand now produces more than 40 products and supplies major supermarkets, independents, restaurant and retail businesses both across the UK and overseas.