20 May Yorkshire Rhubarb – The True-barb.
When we first started Square Root back in 2012 it was a big aspiration to meet and work closely with farmers directly to source great ingredients for our drinks. As we’ve grown, we’ve built strong relationships with amazing farmers around the country and across the channel in Europe, and these direct relationships allow us to do things differently.
In the Yorkshire town of Pudsey, the Tomlinsons have been growing Rhubarb since the turn of the century. Known for the production of excellent Forced Yorkshire Rhubarb, which we use in our Rhubarb Soda in March and April each year, Tomlinson’s are one of the longest-standing family growers in the region.
Rhubarb Robert‘s family knowledge of farming this delicious crop, and the unique soil and weather conditions it enjoys in the Yorkshire Triangle make for the tastiest rhubarb stalks going.
Here’s where things get really cool for us – a couple of years ago we tested a new variety of Rhubarb which Tomlinson’s were trailing in their fields – after the blind taste test here we agreed that the new “Raspberry” Rhubarb was a total smasher, so we teamed up to plant a new field to sustain our soda-making needs for seasons to come.
We entered a trial batch of the new seasonal pop into the Great British Food Awards 2018 and were absolutely delighted to win “Best Non-Alcoholic Drink“, fighting off some serious heavyweight competition and confirming our efforts had all been worthwhile.
2019 is the first year we have Raspberry Rhubarb from the new field and blimey, it tastes amazing! Raspberry Rhubarb stays a bright red colour as it grows slowly, allowing the colour and flavour develop more, and it has a stronger taste than some of the show-off higher yielding but more watery varieties.
To check out the crop in person we organised a trip to Leeds for some of our customers, not just to make them join in the dirty work but to celebrate the new season. We spent the afternoon hand-picking the first pallets of the harvest, with a few local treats to enjoy once our hard graft was over.
After an afternoon’s picking we took a trip back into Leeds city centre and had a luscious Rhubarb-themed dinner at the oldest pub in the city, Whitelock’s Ale House – a brilliant boozer and a devout Square Root stockist, we’re proud to say.
This is exactly the kind of business we love doing, working together to support passionate farmers, celebrate great natural flavour, and do something a little different! We’re always looking for new varieties to trial and new farmers to work with so watch this space, and wish us luck chopping, juicing and popping the first ten tonnes of Rhubarb we’ll crop this season!
Pop over to our web-store and try the Rhubarb Soda for yourself! Cheers!