When I was very young I used to look forward to a trip down to the village to the local sweetshop with its glass jars of sweets displayed on shelves. Trying to decide between lemon sherbets, pear drops or bonbons making my pocket money go as far as I could. When I got a bit older I used to get a pound and that was just enough for a 45rpm (that was a single vinyl record) from the record shop. The record shop was Thresholds and was owned by the Moody Blues, I didn’t know who the Moody Blues were till I was much older but I spent hours going through the records reading the cover notes and admiring the artwork. If I saved up for a few weeks I could get an LP but mostly it was singles. I still have a vast record collection but the sweets are long gone!
Today it is garden centres, I have to be so careful not to visit them too often and I have to have a specific thing in mind otherwise I end up with loads of plants and some remain in pots for a long time as I have no idea where to put them. Yesterday we had a field trip from college to Fruit Hill Farm near Bantry.
It reminded me of those sweet shop days except instead of glass jars of sweets in was full of bottles and containers of organic fertilisers and soil preparations, potting and seed composts, tools, grow lights, and everything an organic gardener could dreams of. It wasn’t glamorous; it is a shed behind a garage full of slurry tanks and farm machinery but inside it was full of treasurer. I am not sponsored or getting paid to advertise but I wish I was a few bags of organic plant food or bottles of Garlic preparations and I would probably say the same thing, it was great!
I have been there before as a customer but this was an opportunity to have a tour of the place and the sales manager Elmer Koomans spent an hour giving us the low down on all the various items they stock. It was a heady experience as they have an incredible variety everything from vegan fertiliser (5:3:8) to natural active-bio with mycorrhizal.
Fruit Hill farm has been going since 1994 but only recently moved to these new premises in 2015. It’s not far from me, only about an hour and just off the main road so it is easy to get to. As a passionate organic grower having something like this so nearby is brilliant and a bit worrying.
For me gone are the days of excitement when entering that sweet shop or the frantic bicycle ride down to town for the latest hit single but surrounded by all those shiny copper coloured garden tools, little bags of Demeter seed and the smell of seaweed dust I could feel the money in my pocket just itching but I know I have to get the pH up in the tunnels first and I have loads of other projects to finish off before I dive into that world again but I can dream!
Fruit Hill Farm has a website at https://www.fruithillfarm.com I just dare you to have a look