British blackcurrants: Tasty, nutritious and environmentally friendly

Rosie Begg blackcurrant harvest

Rosie Begg is a second-generation blackcurrant grower from Norfolk. Rosie returned to her family’s farm in 2018 after six years in the city.

Rosie is one of 35 British blackcurrant farmers growing blackcurrants for The Blackcurrant Foundation, but unlike many of her peers, Rosie has only been growing blackcurrants for the past two years and did not set out for a career in agriculture or the passion she has found for this great British superfruit. This season, Rosie has been busy establishing her Whole Farm Conservation plan, trialing new growing techniques and preparing for her first ever harvest.

Blackcurrant fact file

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  • The blackcurrant harvest will typically take place from the first week of July and continue to mid-August
  • All varieties of British blackcurrants are named after Scottish mountains
  • Our growers install at least 1 nest box per hectare of blackcurrants to support UK bats, birds and owls
  • The blackcurrant season is very short usually starting in July and ending in early August
  • Blackcurrants provide a high amount of calcium that strengthens bone and teeth
  • Blackcurrants provide a high amount of Vitamin A which helps with our eye vision
  • Blackcurrants can help reduce the build up of lactic acid in the blood after exercise

Rosie’s family farm has a long history of blackcurrant growing as one of the original suppliers for Ribena over 60 years ago. Fresh eyes bring a fresh approach and Rosie, like many new to farming, is looking at new ways of doing things. Driven by a passion for sustainability and modern farming techniques, Rosie's goal is not only to produce the highest quality British blackcurrants but to operate a whole farm conservation plan.

Dedicated to creating the most habitable environment for wildlife on her Norfolk farm, Rosie is looking to transform the majority of the farm's arable land into winter bird food, flower-rich plots and other options to improve soil health and provide habitat and food resources for pollinators, small mammals and birds. She is also keenly developing habitats to encourage the Turtle Dove population in the Wensum Valley. 

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Ribena - the nation's much loved blackcurrant drink

As a member of the Blackcurrant Foundation, Rosie works closely with Ribena to grow crops in line with their Six Point Plan, a plan designed to help protect the natural environment and encourage biodiversity on blackcurrant farms.

Did you know?

  • Ribena is made from a unique blend of 10 different blackcurrants which are bred with the support of the James Hutton Institute
  • Each year, growers produce around 10,000 tonnes of blackcurrants for Ribena 
  • Over 90% of the blackcurrant crop go into making Ribena
  • Only specially grown British blackcurrant varieties go into Ribena to make it one of the nations favourite tastes

    Click here to visit The Blackcurrant Foundation's website to learn more about the blackcurrant harvest and for some great recipe ideas. 

    Last edited: 06 August 2020 at 12:41

    Have your say

    H.Day - 24/07/2020 22:58:17

    To all those asking to buy blackcurrants; just have a go at growing them. They are tough and every year when you prune, put the prunings into the soil- in pots or just the earth and some of them will take so you will have more plants over the years. If you don't have a balcony or garden look to see if there are local groups where you can grow in community gardens, community allotments or even schemes where you garden in other people's gardens for them. They are really wonderful and well worth a bit of effort.

    Angie Albery - 23/07/2020 11:10:28

    Are there no growers in Nottinghamshire?? I too love blackcurrants. We have 1 bush in our back garden..... not nearly enough!!! I love to go 'pick your own'. Can you lovely farmers tell me if this has dropped in popularity?? Angie

    Mark Foster - 20/07/2020 23:29:28

    Just finished our own blackcurrant harvest. I'm afraid I normally make my own 'beena - no idea what the variety is but we have 2 very prolific bushes. The Sunday crumble was also a winner but we're most excited about the jostaberry wine we have just started! Good for you Rosie - to be successful and care about our planet is the what we should all aspire to.

    Rosemary Macklin - 20/07/2020 21:55:38

    Our children loved Ribena and so do the grandchildren. I have blackcurrants growing in the garden and we eat them fresh, put them on ice cream and in summer puddings along with red and whitecurrants and British raspberries. I don't pick them all but leave some for the birds. They love them too!

    Thorogood - 20/07/2020 00:22:10

    Why do we get non of those fantastic black current in shops All the fruit I see is importeda

    Mrs Jennifer Selig - 19/07/2020 18:57:17

    Very leased to get your news letters. Am really interested in the article about blackcurrants. I do not want to buy the Ribena drink but I do want to buy the actual blackcurrant fruit do you know where in the Chiswick W4 area or Richmond Surrey area where I can find them?

    Sally Napier - 19/07/2020 17:56:58

    We make Blackcurrant sorbet from our garden grown berries which is delicious!

    Laura Grey - 19/07/2020 16:55:50

    Blackcurrant is healthy food is good your diet

    Shaun Poller - 19/07/2020 15:24:02

    Great to hear British farming doing what they do best. Growing great food and looking after the land and their animals. Long may this continue ??

    Patricia - 19/07/2020 13:45:22

    I wish I could buy Blackcurrant s in the shops. Nothing nicer than a Blackcurrant pie

    Neil Anderson - 19/07/2020 13:42:07

    Great article and good to see so much effort is being put into helping the wildlife too, especially land for winter bird food :)

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