The middle field has been sectioned into four smaller fields. Three of which are used to rotate the chickens in mobile housing. The lower section is planted with fruit trees and bushes. One section contains over 100 native Irish apple trees all sourced from ISSA (Irish Seed Savers Association) in Scariff, county Clare. There are about 30+ varieties. Two rows are planted with Ross Non-Pariel, Sam Young and Red Stripe. These apples are great tasting, prolific-producing varieties that are also good keepers and will be the main apple source for sales in about 2 years time.
The rest of the apples are from all over Ireland, and vary dramatically in size, colour and taste. These apples will fruit from late July until December, and so each will appear on the shop shelves for a few weeks when in season. Apart from the increased biodiversity, and joy of having lots of different tasting apples for ourselves, this is a good marketing tool. Our customers will be able to buy unusual organic apples they can’t get anywhere else; they will taste and look different to supermarket apples. And it is a great way to explain seasonality of food to both adults and children who are used to the year-round availability of every type of food.
We also have plum, cherry, pear and almond trees planted in this area. And there is a section set aside for soft fruits including raspberry, blueberry, gooseberries, red currants, and more. There are strawberries planted in the main growing field.
The orchard is also currently home to our geese. These are working birds that keep the grass down, removing the competition for nutrients from the trees, while adding fertility back into the ground. Eventually we will have a large flock of geese working for us, both in the orchard and in the forestry.
The lowest lying field in our farm is a 4.5acre field that we have divided into 6 smaller fields with alder and elder trees. These trees, although only planted in our first year on the farm already provide much needed wind breaks to protect the crops and polytunnels in the field. In one of the fields we have hen and duck houses where our laying poultry spend their nights. By day they roam the full 4.5 acres. Some of these birds were purchased as day olds and raised on farm, and some were born here. Both the organic duck and hen eggs are being sold through our shop.