Do you remember that episode of Friends where Monica goes down the to docks? She's got a plan, a plan to get a man, how's she gonna get that man... Jam!
Well I had my first experience of "going down the docks" recently or in Manchester's case, Smithfields market. What an overwhelming sight for a newbie juice maker. Where to start? And how do I know I'm getting a good deal? I walked up to the first un-burly chap I could find and asked, 'who's gonna have some British apples round here?' I soon found my man. One of the funniest moments for me was the language some of his lads used between themselves. No pleasantries, just an exchange of adjective expletives that don't need to be repeated. But then again I had to remind myself I'm not in the fruit and veg aisle of Booths. Not that I want to give the impression I'm some kind of supermarket snob, at a stretch some might call me a 'posh sounding Southerner' but I've never even set foot in Booths, on the odd occaion I might frequent a Waitrose, but hey, I love my local Aldi in Moss Side and you can't beat a bit of banter with the mini-mart owners on Claremont Road. I love my adopted community and shop locally whenever I can.
The main reason for going was to make connections so that we can secure regular and seasonal fruit for our juice (and cider). It's the only way we can keep going and keep Voran (AKA 'The Beast') happy. He is a commercial apple press afterall and we want to make the best use of him. Don't worry though, we've made a commitment to always focus on the community side and the roots of where we began by accepting donated fruit. But to have a sustainable business we need to find those sources of apple to keep us afloat. As we try to expand and find a new more permanent for the project it's looking likely we'll have rents, business rates and bills to pay. And the simple fact is, we'll never survive on donated fruit alone.