Dorset is an ideal place to forage, with budding hedgerows and fruit all round. One aspiring entrepreneur took foraging to the next level foraging on her family farm and making a business out of it. I caught up with Lucy of “Juicy Lucy’s” the artisan cordial maker based in the heart of West Dorset and spoke to her about the story behind her delicious Dorset cordial……
How long has Juicy Lucy’s been established and how did it come about?
We started off with two farmer’s markets in 2015, but only really got up and running last summer, with our branding and website sorted, and full range of cordials finely tuned. As children, me and my brother used to enjoy making elderflower ‘champagne’ in a big bowl with our Mum, so the idea to create something with a similar homemade summery taste was what got us started.
What is your favourite aspect of running your own business?
It has to be meeting our customers! It’s great to see people enjoying something that we have worked hard to create and are so proud of. I also think it’s really nice to see younger people choosing to spend their pocket money on one of our drinks, rather than a can of something mass-produced. The making process is hot and hard work, but it’s worth it for the end result.
What is the most unusual concoction you have created for a product and did you add the item to your product stock?
We heard that stinging nettle cordial was a delicious concoction. Having grown ourselves a rather impressive crop of nettles in the back garden, we earnestly cooked up a batch of the stuff which ended up turning into some brown sticky gloop — definitely not one to add to the repertoire.
Our Dad actually created a rhubarb cordial recipe through trial and error, which has now become one of our best sellers.
Where do you source your ingredients from?
All of our foraged ingredients (elderflowers and berries, sloes, blackberries) come from the hedgerows on our family farm in Bothenhampton, so we can pick and make the cordial in a short space of time. The rhubarb is home grown and, until we have perfected the art of growing citrus fruit in West Dorset, our lemons and limes come from Millers Farm Shop in Axminster.
What’s next for Juicy Lucy’s?
This summer, we are trialing our ‘grown up drinks’ (using our cordials and different spirits) at a couple of events, which has gone really well so far. We are hoping to be able to roll this out more widely next year where possible. We would also like to start stocking our cordials at some farm shops.
Where can customers buy Juicy Lucy’s cordial?
Our remaining events this summer are Food Rocks in Lyme Regis (19th — 20th August), Buckham Fair (20th August), Melplash Show (24th August) and Dorchester Show (2nd-3rd September). It’s going to be a busy couple of weeks, but we are looking forward to it!