AN EAST Lothian drinks business is encouraging people to forage locally and harvest ingredients to be used in its products.

Buck and Birch, based in Macmerry and owned by Tom Chisholm and Rupert Waites, makes ready-mixed bottled cocktails and liqueurs and has launched a campaign dedicated to “restoring vital connections”.

County residents of all ages are being encouraged to hunt and forage for rosehips and crab apples whilst out and about and donate them to the business.

An instruction sheet on foraging is available at

As well as encouraging people to connect with nature, the initiative also formed part of foraging fortnight, which ran until Sunday and aimed to celebrate Scotland’s natural environment.

Despite foraging fortnight coming to an end, Buck and Birch will be rewarding donations until the fruit runs out.

Rosehips and crab apples are in season right now, with rosehips full of vitamin C and a popular syrup during the war.

Donations can be dropped off at Buck and Birch’s base at Merryfield Business Centre, Macmerry Industrial Estate, where those taking part will be reimbursed with either a gift voucher, rosehip syrup or Aelder Elixir – a wild elderberry liqueur.

Tom and Rupert are also looking to donate any additional rosehip syrup to residents in care homes across the county, something that they say will be beneficial as the winter season approaches.

Rupert, director of Buck and Birch, said: “As well as connecting people to their environment in a positive way, it also helps to connect folk of all age groups together and finally helps older people to reconnect to the taste of their youth and get the benefit of the huge nutritional value of these undervalued native fruits.

“It’s a small thing but important. Rosehips are a perfect place to start, being easy to identify and really abundant.

“We also want to pay it forward by donating any excess syrup to local care homes so that they too can reconnect residents with a taste of their youth and give them the benefits of the huge amount of vitamin C.”