Farming and Sustainability
Sustainability on our Farm
Sustainable farming is at the heart of Willy’s brand, growing without artificial pesticides and fertilisers and letting natural practices help nature find it’s own balance. There is a definite sense that nature rules here and everything is in harmony, and we try and nurture this as much as possible, with the help of Tom who runs the orchards and manages the farm animals.
No waste. We send any waste pulp to the anaerobic digester which turns it into natural fertiliser for the orchards.
We have over 48 varieties of apples in the orchards. Some classic varieties, some obsolete! The names are almost as wonky as the varieties themselves, here are a few of our favourites; Slack ma girdle, Court de wyck, Broxwood foxwhelp, Improved Dove, Never Blight, Angela, Fillbarrell and Collington big bitters.
Big and Small
We have a programme to entice beneficial predator insects like ladybirds, lacewing, hoverfy and earwigs to naturally keep the aphid count low. The best way to attract them is with wild flowers and herbs which we plant in spring, then give them a varied and cosy home in the fields in the form of bug hotels.
Any waste apple pulp and cuttings are sent to a neighbouring anaerobic digester. The resulting fertiliser is spread back on the fields and orchards, keeping the loop closed and all-natural.
Birds of a
The orchards are home to tens of bird species, including pheasants, buzzards, partridge, song-thrush and even a family of tiny owls. With organic pest control in mind, we’re particularly keen for the little birds to feel at home in the orchards as they help us control the Codling Moth numbers, a pest in the apple world! We’re adding a feeding area to the orchards in spring to help nurture the small feathered friends.