Apricot Lane Farms is a 234-acre certified organic, biodynamic, and regenerative
organic farm located in Moorpark, California. Founded by Molly and John Chester in 2011, the farm is the realization of their collective vision to connect food and ecosystems, believing that our health and that of our planet relies on a biodiverse, symbiotic system. They are also the farm and film team behind the multi-award-winning documentary film, The Biggest Little Farm.
Lisbon Lemons are plentiful at Apricot Lane Farms–occupying several acres in their various orchards–and have inspired the development of a line of honey lemonades that are now nationally distributed. With three flavors and several awards, the beverage program continues to grow and thrive through a strategic, omnichannel approach.
Apricot Lane Farms has long been selling their produce, meat, eggs and artisan products at their very own On-Farm Farmstand, a variety of Southern California farmer’s markets and select specialty grocers. Ready to share their lemonade outside of their community, Apricot Lane Farms approached Brandettes with a unique product development opportunity- to create the product from farm-to-shelf while adhering to their original guiding vision.
Every Brandettes product development project starts with getting to know our client’s story so that the result is authentic and connects with their audience on an emotional level. Once we truly understood Apricot Lane Farm’s vision and goals, we dove into tasting and perfecting (an already perfect) lemonade recipe alongside the farm team. Because local, organic and sustainable practices were a must for Apricot Lane, the next step was sourcing the ideal cold-packed honey from a local beekeeper —Pacifica Honey— and building out the production, packaging, and distribution while upholding the same earth-friendly practices. And like any CPG product, we, alongside the farm team and graphic designer (Hailey Faust), conceived a visual story for the bottles themselves.
After extensive research into the natural beverage space, we noticed that most packages are cluttered with bright colors and marketing messages touting a product’s purported benefits. We decided to do the opposite and are proud to say we’ve won GD Magazine’s Packaging Design of the Year for 2022 & 2023.
The package design includes simple, but charming hand-drawn illustrations of the ingredients, along with a couple of honeybees that lightly buzz around the label. The clean design was largely inspired by the elegance found in wine bottles. The exclusively black and white palette—rare in the juice/smoothie/beverage space—allows Apricot Lane Farm’s product to stand out. The simplicity reflects the paired-down nature of the recipe that focuses on the quality of the ingredients.
We purposefully worked with a stock bottle silhouette to keep the package sophisticated and focused on the lemonade itself. The bottle we sourced is 100% PCR and is manufactured locally, further adding to the local positioning for the product and reinforcing Apricot Lane’s core values. The labels and caps are also recyclable.
To bring the Orange Blossom Honey Lemonade to market, Brandettes provided fully integrated product development support, coordinating all aspects of manufacturing. This included helping source raw material suppliers, negotiate optimized pricing, and arrange for high pressure processing (HPP) that retains the integrity of the cold-pressed product. We worked hand-in-hand with regulatory and food safety experts to adhere to FDA guidelines and pass all necessary bacteria/shelf life testing and secured the proper approvals for state-run recycle programs.
Seeking retailers sharing the same enthusiasm and respect for nature and good food was the final step. And focusing on local distribution with plans to grow nationwide, purposefully, led to the product selling out of its first three productions just 90 days after launch.
If you ask us, Apricot Lane Farms and everyone involved in this project, the pride that comes with launching a product forged with so much passion cannot be summed up into a few words alone. From the ingredients made with love by nature and the farmers themselves, to the vintage, yet simplistic design of the black and white label, we can say that, together, the vision was realized to its fullest.
It was with tremendous emotion and eagerness that Apricot Lane Farms Orange Blossom Honey Lemonade launched in late summer 2021 across Southern California farmer’s markets and in gourmet grocers such as Erewhon, Bristol Farms, Vintage Grocers, and Eataly, as well as specialty purveyors like Farmshop, Lady and Larder, and others. The product continues to grow rapidly in great part due to the quality and authenticity of the brand- but also the marketing strategies we put in place that opened up their story to a larger audience through their social platforms and newly designed website.
With a growing audience across the US (and beyond), we helped drive an omni-channel sales experience that included direct-to-consumer online sales for the award-winning lemonade program. The farm’s internal team excels at content creation, so we leveraged their resources to create a variety of story, product and seasonal ads pointing to their webstore using footage that helps bring the viewer onto the farm to experience a harvest. Targeting a variety of lifestyle groups across Meta platforms, the program exceeded expectations and continues to grow. With additional launches planned for 2023, we will expand to additional platforms to test conversion for the expanded line.
"Nikola and the Brandettes team helped us realize our dream of sharing our signature lemonade recipe with people outside of our little (big) farm community in a way that aligned with our values and goals!"