Food Hero – Sarah Derrett – Organic Oranges

Sarah Derrett – Organic Oranges

Sarah Derrett with her organic oranges.

Sarah Derrett with her organic oranges.

Intrigued by a recurring listing on GumTree under ‘Property – Other’, Sarah went to investigate and discovered an abandoned orange farm. “Fallen fruit was rotting on the floor, the ground was covered in moss. Commercial farmers would have thought it a disaster, but we saw abundance. The fact that it hadn’t been sprayed for years meant the fruit was as organic as one could find.” Sarah and friends set to work to unlock the potential and rehabilitate the farm, creating permaculture gardens and repairing broken basic infrastructure.

Then, armed with a hand juicer, that didn’t last long, Sarah set about collecting the speckled (no spray, remember), sweet fruit to make fresh orange juice for sale. “It has been so well received. I think many people didn’t realise how many additives there are in commercial fruit juice.” Recently she purchased an industrial juicer. This is an impressive contraption (appropriately orange coloured) that halves the fruit and turns 3kgs of fruit into a litre of juice in a flash. It is mesmerising. “Often my whole family sits and watches it work” she laughs, “the amount of juice that sprays out is amazing.” Lily (4) had a classmate tell her when she unpacked her lunch box recently “Fruit juice is bad for you, it has too much sugar.” Lily was pleased to report back to him the next day that hers was actually fine – just loaded with natural fructose, but none of the bad sugars and oodles of vitamin C, of course.

While Sarah is clearly having a lot of fun and enjoying her newly acquired taste for champagne with organic orange juice, the fact that a good food is not lying rotting in a field somewhere, is the greatest joy of the enterprise. Full of fresh and funky ideas, Sarah is dreaming up plans to extract oil from the rare un-poisoned rind for use in cleaning products and health oils; make candied peel and try her hand at gentle freezing methods that preserve the health benefits.

Her delicious juice is available at the Barter it Bru Market at Caladdi B&B on the first Saturday of each month, or at Greetings Café in Howick, Steam Punk and Dovehouse. Sarah has plans for a just-squeezed Juice Bar somewhere in the Midlands soon.