Harbour & Jones Events created an incredible pop-up orchard on 19th June in the bare brick vaults of Westminster venue, RSA House, to launch its campaign to save declining orchards. More than 190 event industry professionals including representatives from M&C Saatchi, Banks Sadler, DUAL Group, and Industri UK attended.
Embracing the orchard theme, Creative Director Jules Heckman-Hughes set about transforming the vaults into a small piece of Somerset in the heart of London. The entrance to RSA House on Durham House Street was decked with hay bales and an abundance of apple varieties including Cox and Orange Pippin cascading over apple crates.
Guests then descended the vaults stairway, lined with apples, green vines and tea lights in votives. They were greeted by waiting staff in checked shirts and wellies proffering a selection of cocktails and mocktails including the Orchard Pig Mojito (Mopigto) consisting of dark rum, mint and lime, sugar and Orchard Pig’s Totally Minted juice.
In the first vault Harbour & Jones Events’ Chef Martin Rookard welcomed guests into his world of bees, explaining how the company has its own bee hives in Essex to make honey for the company’s culinary uses. He showed guests how they could roll their own beeswax candles for them to take home.
Event guests were invited to take pictures using Instagram and #savetheorchards which were instantly uploaded onto plasma screens using the latest live streaming technology from Eventstagram. Images tagged with the event hashtag were automatically entered into a competition to win a hamper of Harbour & Jones treats. Over 100 images were uploaded and shared via Twitter and Instagram; the winner was notified by Twitter on 20th June.
Partygoers were led down a path through to the next vault where a barn styled bar offered guests further imbibes including appletinis, wine, Orchard Pig ciders and freshly pressed fruit juices.
In the last vault, waiters brought guests bites of the new Save The Orchards menus rich with a variety of apples and country offerings including: creamed Ragstone goats cheese with green apple sherbet and mackerel tartar, sea purslane and apple caviar. At the picnic area there were Scotch eggs, mature Cheddar and apple pie pops. For pudding all people had to do was look at the living apple tree, which was hung with an assortment of feather-light delights such as: apple blossom candy floss and macaroons.
Having had hunger and thirst satiated, guests could meet the micro-pigs Boe and Gizmo and then try their hands at apple pressing, enjoying an age old technique that has been used for hundreds of years to make ciders and fruit juices.
Since the 1950s 60% of the orchards in the UK have been destroyed not only meaning fewer apples but many of Britain's heritage apples have completely disappeared. Dwindling orchard numbers have an effect on wildlife and vegetation, in short having a huge impact on our environment.
In December last year, Harbour & Jones Events bought clients a special fruit tree for Christmas. The trees were planted in March forming the beginning of the restoration of an orchard in Somerset, now named the H&J Orchard which is being tended by Orchard Pig Groundforce.
Co-founder and Director of Harbour & Jones Patrick Harbour said: "This campaign is very close to my heart. We want to see orchards flourishing again and show clients how an orchard can be transformed with a bit of love and care. It is also important for our bees that are having a really hard time at the moment.
"Our menus can be explored by clients hosting events at our venues including St Paul’s Cathedral, the Cutty Sark, Prince Philip House and 41 Portland Place and indeed our outside catering clients; so everyone can literally taste our campaign. Plus clients are invited to be more involved by donating money to restore more trees and taste the fruits of their donations each autumn."
Suppliers of Save The Orchards include Eventstagram, production and lighting by Event Concept, floral displays from Veevers Carter, food and drink supplied by Kirby’s Fruit & Veg, 3 Star Veg, Alison Risebro, 40 C, Matthew Clark, Orchard Pig and waiting staff services by Metro Hospitality.