BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 14 Aug '15

Expect the weird and the wonderful in your next yeogurt pot

yeovalley2If you missed out on Yeo Valley’s lip-smacking Norfolk Strawberry yoghurt this summer, we sympathise.

The limited edition flavour was made from special Florence strawberries grown on the Sandringham Estate by Melton & Sons, a British family farming business. It was like a little pot of Wimbledon, but with less of the ‘Argggghhhhhh!’

A tricky business

Growing fruit in the UK can be a tricky business and for Yeo Valley, getting hold of enough of it – from certified organic sources – is harder than you might think.

The Special Edition Norfolk Strawberry yoghurt was only available for a few weeks; Yeo Valley simply couldn’t source enough organic British strawberries to keep it going longer.

To bridge the gap and mix things up a bit, the family farm’s now on a mission to find new sources for the organic fruit used in its scrumptious products – as well as less traditional fruit for new concoctions.

Calling all organic fruit growers!

If you or someone you know produces certified organic fruit that’s exotic and unusual or tasty and traditional, it could become Yeo Valley’s next bestselling flavour.

Yeo Valley’s Fruit Quest is good news for yoghurt-lovers because it means a raft of exciting limited edition flavours could be hitting the shelves soon – and it’s great news for organic fruit growers as their produce could be the stars of the new recipes.

If that’s not enough, it’s great news for everyone else, too, because the Fruit Quest will give a nice juicy boost to organic agriculture in the UK, and will help to make organic produce available to everyone.

British family farming

Buying organic produce for Yeo Valley ‘Yeogurt’ (which translates to ‘organic and then some’) is just one of the ways in which Yeo Valley supports other British family farms.

‘Global food production is under pressure in a way it never has been before. With Britain only 60% self-sufficient in food production, we need to be prepared for the challenges this will bring to us in the UK.

‘At a time when there are so many questions being asked about the chemicals used in human food production, we need to support our British organic fruit growers to ensure they can supply pesticide-free food for us in the future.

‘Yeo Valley was founded with the purpose of supporting British family farms. By working with local organic farmers the Yeo Valley brand was born – as was the OMSCo Co-operative that supplies all our milk to this day.

‘Supporting organic dairy is another important step towards improving the security of healthy nutritious food for all of us – not just now but for generations to come.’

Tim Mead, owner of Yeo Valley

Supporting organic agriculture

The organic blackcurrants used in Yeo Valley’s limited edition 0% Fat British Blackcurrant Yeogurt all came from Anthony and Christine Snell’s family farm in Herefordshire. The flavour was so popular that it’s been added to Yeo Valley’s main line in a slightly more luxurious whole milk version.

‘We’ve got very good soil and just the right climate which helps us grow all sorts of soft fruits, including strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries – as well as blackcurrants’, Anthony explains.

The best climate for blackcurrants is here in the UK, where they’ve been grown for centuries. Still, growing an organic crop isn’t easy; ‘You have to hand-weed everything and you don’t get such high yields’, Anthony says. ‘But the feeling that you’re working in harmony with Nature is very satisfying. The most crucial thing is to take good care of the soil – if we look after it, it’ll look after us.’

Climate change and fruit farming

For Anthony, dealing with the weather is the hardest part of his job. ‘Climate change is upon us and we are getting longer periods of more challenging weather to contend with. There are so many things that can go wrong in fruit farming and we worry a lot about getting a good crop when the weather conditions aren’t right, but we have to try and work with it.’

To show just how serious it is about supporting family farms like the Snells’, Yeo Valley has put its money where its mouth is. It recently acquired its very own fruit business, Yeo Valley Fruits, which serves as a store for all the hidden supplies of delicious organic fruit that are discovered.

Click here to find out more about Yeo Valley’s Fruit Quest and how to get involved.