Rod & Julie Calder-Potts
Located in county Kilkenny on land steeped in family history, Highbank Farm have been producing organic apples on the family farm since the 70s. Rod and Julie Calder-Potts are prime examples of farmers who have diversified their farm, creating an enterprise that is ecologically and economically viable.
Their organic orchard supplies them with apples for artisan apple juice, apple syrup, apple cider, vinegars and much more, almost all of which are processed on the farm. “The varieties of apples are specially chosen for their juicing properties which are uniquely complex and full of health giving vitamins and minerals.” They have more recently built a distillery on the farm and are now producing apple gin, apple brandy and apple vodka.
Respect for and connection with nature is at the heart of the farm – “All of our production is to the strictest of organic standards. No chemicals are sprayed on the apples, neither are any herbicides or chemical fertilizers used.” They continuously work to enhance biodiversity on the farm. They have built two lakes, planted forestry all around the farm and sowed pollinator friendly flowers to encourage solitary bees amongst other insects. There is a wonderfully diverse range of wildlife on the farm, including a badger set, snipe, otters, kingfishers, raptors, buzzards, crows, rooks, jackdaws, ravens, magpies, jays, woodcock, as well as a wide range of insects and fungi.
Rod and Julie are passionate about supporting small-scale Irish farmers and producers. They welcome visitors from near and far to their farm and run farm walks, talks, events and workshops throughout the year.
Highbank orchard is a fantastic organic farm produces top quality produce from their apples. From award winning apple syrup to cider and gin. They’re huge supporters of local food producers as well as advocates for organic farming, nature and soil health. Their farm have a large variety of wonderful wildlife habitats. They give farm tours to individuals as well as large groups. They host talks, lectures, events and workshops in beautifully restored out buildings. They encompass a broad spectrum in how they farm and encourage learning about all kinds of foods from the farming of raw ingredients to the end produce. They are an excellent example of what a farming for nature ambassador should be about.
Nominator: Suzanna Crampton, FFN Ambassador