More forgotten foods remembered

NICHE FINE dining business Lusso has launched a new partnership with the National Fruit Collection that will see forgotten, rare or unfashionable home-grown varieties of apple served in some of the Square Mile’s most prestigious workplaces.


“Neighbourhood Crops” is the result of a partnership brokered by fresh produce supplier Reynolds with the National Fruit Collection – based at Brogdale Farm, near Faversham – which is the world’s largest collection of fruit trees and plants.


Compass this week also launched a similar scheme to promote forgotten foods from small producers as part of a brand refresh for Restaurant Associates.


The land around Brogdale has been home to the Collection since 1952 and includes over 3,500 apple, pear, plum, cherry, and cob nut cultivars. It is owned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs as part of a programme to protect plant resources for the future, while The University of Reading has responsibility for maintaining the Collection.


Lusso has scored a first in foodservice by working in partnership with Brogdale to bring to market some of these rare apple varieties this autumn and for many it will be an once-in-a-lifetime chance to taste apples that in times past would have taken for granted.


Crops such as Red Charles Ross, Ribston Pippens, and Oaken Pin will be picked in tiny quantities from only two trees of each variety. Each 5 kg box will identify the variety delivered, but will be delivered without any other advance warning.


Not all the fruit will necessarily look pristine, but Lusso is employing a “you must eat your greens” mentality and customers won’t be able to send them back. The initiative is launching initially with three clients: Hogan Lovells; SJ Berwin; and Norton Rose.


This launch comes hot on the heels of the Lusso’s “Ugly Fish Friday” campaign –a stand against a fishing quota system that sees fish caught thrown back, dead. Every Friday, Lusso locations feature a variety of “Ugly Fish” on the menu, cooked to order in a choice of ways.  Six months after launch, Lusso sold 4,000 “Ugly Fish” portions and extended the project with a pop-up stall at Whitecross Street Market.


Andy Weir, head of marketing for Reynolds said: “By working in partnership with Lusso we are both now able to do our bit to help preserve the National Fruit Collection and raise its profile further – which can only be a good thing.”