Although Alder Tree Ltd was born in 2007, one really has to go back to 1981 to unearth the true origins of our family business. This was the year my parents decided that something significant was missing from their lives. Politely choosing to ignore any well-meaning advice to 'think twice' they waved goodbye to their old lives, to run a small-holding deep in the Suffolk countryside whilst also raising a family.
In the first year they grew potatoes which they had to wrestle down to the end of the drive to sell to any spud-loving passers-by.
The following year there was a real progress when one of the farm's many run down outhouses was converted into a snug, 'without'thrills' farm shop.
When in 1987 my parents were wrong-footed by a bumper crop of raspberries, Nick dug out one of my grandmother's old recipes and make some handmade batches of what we now call fruit cream ice. Word got around and we found ourselves overwhelmed with orders from other farmshops around the county. Nick and Joan Hardingham were now officially soft fruit farmers par excellence!
History as they say repeated itself in 2004 when I decided to leave my London role as an environmental consultant and head back to my parents. Hooked on the notion of helping businesses improve their carbon footprint, I had become frustrated by many of my clients' laissex-faire attigude to social responsibility.
Ably supported by my long term partner Graham, I decided to lean upon my parent's home-grown soft fruit know-how to put my heartfelt beliefs into action, which is way in 2007 the Alder Tree fruit cream ice business came into being.