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30 September 2011

Berry Cool: Alder Tree

Alder Tree make their award winning fruit cream ices on their fruit farm in Suffolk to a traditional family recipe. Made with only fruit, cream and sugar, they are naturally delicious.

In 1983 Nick and Joan Hardingham decided they wanted to get out of the ‘rat race’ and run a smallholding whilst raising a family.

They bought the then derelict Alder Carr Farm at Needham Market and set about what was to be many hard, but enjoyable years of work.

The first year they grew potatoes and sold them from the end of the drive and by the following year they were using one of the old run-down farm buildings as a farm shop.

In 1987 a bumper crop of raspberries led Nick to try out an old recipe his mother Audrey used to make on their fruit farm near Bury St Edmunds. They put it out for sale in the farm shop and it proved such a success other farm shops were soon asking if they could stock it. The simple combination proved such a success that they’ve never looked back.

Production started in the farmhouse kitchen, but soon progressed to the farm tea room. In 1996 a dedicated kitchen was built, which they still use today.

Alder Tree was founded on the belief that everything they do should be done in an ethical and sustainable way. This commitment underpins everything they do.

All the ingredients used are of the highest quality and sourced as locally as possible. They use no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives in any of their products. Over 60% of the fruit comes from their own farm at Alder Carr or from the family farm at Bury St Edmunds and the rest is grown by local growers within East Anglia. By doing so, this supports local farmers and minimises food miles. Sugar is East Anglian and only fresh British cream is used. The few ingredients that do come from abroad such as vanilla and ginger are fairly traded from sustainable sources.

At Alder Tree passionately believe that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing as well as you can. They use only the finest quality ingredients and will never cut corners to the detriment of their products to save time or money. Everything is made in small batches.

Alder Tree remain true to their original ideals and only supply to independently owned outlets, thus providing small retailers and eateries with something that can’t be found in the large multiples.

Visit Alder Tree on The Artisan Food Trail here

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