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Festival to celebrate Norfolk's key role in making one of Britain's favourite drinks

PUBLISHED: 10:17 09 July 2019 | UPDATED: 10:17 09 July 2019

Ribena's Big Berry Back is coming to Norfolk. Picture: Nick McGowan-Lowe/RIBENA

Ribena's Big Berry Back is coming to Norfolk. Picture: Nick McGowan-Lowe/RIBENA

(C) Nick McGowan-Lowe 2018 Tel +44 (0) 7774 438935 E: nick@nml.uk.com

It is one of Britain's most well-known brands - and now Norfolk's contribution to the blackcurrant drink Ribena will be celebrating all that is great about the berry.

Ribena's Big Berry Back is coming to Norfolk. Picture: Nick McGowan-Lowe/RIBENARibena's Big Berry Back is coming to Norfolk. Picture: Nick McGowan-Lowe/RIBENA

Dereham-based grower Rosie Begg is one of eight farmers in East Anglia who collectively produces 2800 tonnes of blackcurrants each year for the 80-year-old beverage.

She said: "People are always amazed to hear that 90 per cent of Britain's blackcurrant crop goes into making Ribena as not many people realise they're grown right on their doorstep here in Dereham."

Residents are now being offered the chance to get a sneak peak of this year's harvest when the Big Berry Bash comes to mid-Norfolk.

On Saturday, July 13, Gorgate Hall Farm, based in Hoe, will open its gates to reveal what really goes on behind the scenes to promote biodiversity.

A popular seasonal job among the then Dereham and district housewives is blackcurrant picking. This picture shows a number of pickers waiting to have their bakets of fruit weighed at Gorgate Hall Farm, Hoe, near Dereham.  Dated  7th July 1953.  Photograph: ARCHANT LIBRARYA popular seasonal job among the then Dereham and district housewives is blackcurrant picking. This picture shows a number of pickers waiting to have their bakets of fruit weighed at Gorgate Hall Farm, Hoe, near Dereham. Dated 7th July 1953. Photograph: ARCHANT LIBRARY

"With more than 400 people signed up, it's expected to be a great day and we're looking forward to showing people what we've been up to over the last 12 months," the second-generation grower added.

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"With any luck, we'll also be able to spot some of the wildlife that now call our farm home."

Guests are invited to watch harvesting demonstrations before enjoying a free barbecue and garden games.

Those interested in a farm tour can also look out for some of the bird boxes and wild flowers that have been introduced as part of Ribena's Biodiversity Action Plan.

The six-point-plan is a commitment to farm sustainably and involves sowing wild flowers with a bespoke seed mix created by the company, planting trees, installing bird boxes and managing hedgerows, to help diversify the species living on the farm and protect the natural environment.

Collectively, all 35 of Ribena's blackcurrant growers have restored 200 miles of hedgerow, built over 2,000 nest boxes and sown an area bigger than London with pollen and nectar-rich wild flowers.

The event is now fully-booked.

A popular seasonal job among the Dereham housewives in the 1950s was blackcurrant picking and the pickers would wait to have their baskets weighed at Gorgate Hall Farm.

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