Producer: Jeremy Benson
Iced-lolly producer Jeremy Benson comes from a traditional farming background: parents with a fruit farm in Co Durham, agricultural college, farm manager for Chivers Hartley in Cambridgeshire. Then, six years ago, he and his wife, Alexia, decided they wanted to go it alone. We moved to the Cotswolds, bought an old press, and rented a farm in Sherborne, Gloucester-shire, from the National Trust. First, they produced fruit juices, followed by Chilly Billy, their pure juice lollies (named after their son, Billy). Last year, the apple-and-raspberry Chilly Billy won a gold Great Taste Award.
Last month, Mr Benson launched three new flavours, all made with British apple juice (Jonagold, Cox or Gala), plus either strawberry and blackcurrant, also British, or Alphonse mango from India. The lollies contain neither sugar nor preservatives. Mothers buy them 20 or 30 at a time and keep them in the freezer, because there are no additives to upset the children. Some commercial iced lollies are so full of E numbers that you need a drink of water afterwards to get the taste out of your mouth.
He now prefers the lollies to the straight juice theyre really refreshing. Since the first lolly was launched two years ago, Mr Benson has sorted out the rather amateurish pack-aging and is working on ways to mail order the lollies while keeping them frozen. Theres a website on the way, too. But should you not be able to wait for this, telephone him on 01451 844134 to find local stockists.