'Just polish the fruit child, we've a flag to make'

Sometimes you have an idea and it doesnt' work. Sometimes you have an idea and it does... and every now and then the result exceeds anyone's expectations. 

A few months ago ideas were being banded around for how to brand Sirane for a forthcoming fresh produce show in California - PMA's Fresh Summit - and we hit upon the idea of creating the Stars & Stripes, and the Union Flag, out of fruit and vegetables. 

Now that's a challenge beyond the scope of me, and beyond capabilities of most people I know. But not beyond everyone I know...

I happen to know a photographer. A very, very good photographer named Richard Stonehouse.

I knocked on the door, sat down at the dining table with Richard and Laura, and told them what I wanted. I then told them I was actually serious. I wanted flags, styled entirely from fruit and vegetables, which I would use as the focal point of a 3m by 2m trade stand. 

Now this would faze many people. But not this family... and by family, I truly do mean the whole family, for even a bemused three-year-old was roped into duty polishing blueberries. "But why are we doing this?" she asked, "Why can't I eat any of them, I'm hungry?" Just polish the fruit child, no time for talking.

More than 1,000 blueberries were polished by hand. Many by small children, who have smaller hands... why, I hear you ask? Because blueberries don't look blue unless you do. They appear a kind of grey colour. And the Stars & Stripes is red, white and blue - not grey, white and blue.

A type of cauliflower was even chosen, specifically for the fact that sometimes, when you break off the florets, you get a kind of natural star shape. 

The results, I'm sure you'll agree, were worth the effort. I truly got exactly what I'd asked for - two flags, British and US, made out of fruit and vegetables. Now where we going next?

MARK LINGARD, MARKETING

It's like the United Nations in here

So, as I sit here and drink my coffee - hot, milky with sugar, none of that flamboyant foreign stuff - the workforce around me is gaining an increasing international flavour. And I'm not just talking about the odd Scot who's headed south of the border.

We already had Veronique, our French business manager, and in logistics Magda, all the way from sunny (or perhaps not, I've very little knowledge of Eastern European climates) Poland. And down in the factory there's various languages spoken. A few months ago, when I needed some Arabic checking, within minutes someone was produced from the deepest, darkest corners of the Sirane empire, fluent in Egyptian Arabic.

And now, into that mix, comes Pablo - hellbent on breaking the Spanish market before Christmas.

But Sirane is suddenly becoming very global. This week Sirane Southern Africa threw open its doors, Sirane Turkey will follow suit soon, and Sirane Middle East is also very much coming soon. My offer to head up Sirane Barbados is still being considered, I'm sure.

Every day enquiries come in from once-exotic far-flung places, and it's a sign how much Sirane has grown that a request for help from a potato producer in Phuket or a damson distributor in Djibouti barely warrants a mention any more.

But still, despite all the overseas influences, there's still those who insist on Yorkshire Tea.

MARK LINGARD, MARKETING

 

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    Sirane Ltd. Stafford Park 6, Telford, Shropshire, TF3 3AT. Telephone +44 (0)1952 230055