No doubt you've heard of Belvoir, the British family drinks company, but maybe you don't know that they organise a lovely event every year called the Elderflower Harvest. Around the end of May, they ask people from their local community and three bordering counties to pick flowers for the following year’s Elderflower Cordial production. And YES! pickers get paid for their efforts. This year the harvest is getting a helping hand from BBC presenter Gemma Hunt, who is raising awareness of the event by going behind the scenes at Belvoir Farm.
Picking takes place at Belvoir’s 60 acres of organic plantations and surrounding hedgerows. Within 24 hours of harvesting the flower heads, they are poured into vats and stirred by hand so continuing the 40 year-old tradition of producing Elderflower Cordial. It's still made to the same family recipe. Belvoir Farm was the first company to produce elderflower cordial commercially, a business started by John Manners and his wife Mary, who created the original recipe. The farm was established in 1981 initially to grow ‘pick your own’ fruit because the Manners didn't like to see anything go to waste. It was when they were looking for a way to use unpicked and over-ripe fruit that the idea came to make pure fruit cordials. Great idea! The cordial has to be diluted so one bottle makes up to ten pints which I think is fabulous value.
I love Elderflower Cordial's refreshing taste, it's lovely to drink on its own, or - and you can add it to recipes for cakes or desserts and - this is one I also like lots, you can add a splash to your white wine or cocktails! All Belvoir drinks are made from local spring water and natural ingredients.
Belvoir kindly sent me a couple of bottles of Elderflower Cordial to see what I thought.
And here are three things you might not know about elderflowers
More about the Belvoir 2021 Elderflower Harvest, how paid to pick works and how to get involved at www.belvoirfarm.co.uk. For more on Gemma Hunt and her work with Belvoir, see www.theoutdoorguide.co.uk.
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist and author of 12 books. Published credits include the Telegraph, Daily Mail, CNN, Daily Express, Country & Town House, The Scotsman, The Sun, Woman's Own, Lonely Planet, etc