Resilient orchards

Tim Hammerich

This is Tim Hammerich from the Ag Information Network with your Farm of the Future report.

Brendan Barnard found a love for cider making seven years ago and purchased property to one day open his orchard-based cider house. After he and his wife were both laid off from their tech jobs, it happened a day faster than expected and before the trees were ready to produce. Thus, he sourced fruit from neglected, forgotten and sometimes wild apple trees.

Barnard… “And then we walk out into some of these properties and you see an apple tree. It’s 110, 120 years. It is 45 feet tall. And the last time anyone lived on the property was in 1905 and no one has irrigated it since. And no one’s fertilized it since, or pruned it, or tended it, and it’s got 400 pounds of fruit on it. So that was really like an eye-opening experience. This is what we need to plant. And so that completely changed my theory of orcharding and what we should start doing.

Barnard wondered what he could learn from the resilience of these trees and apply it to his own orchard.

Barnard… “It’s the tough, vigorous stuff that can survive with minimal inputs. And so there’s just, there’s an immense wealth to draw on both in terms of cider making and the fruit associated with it. And then also just, you have this huge, huge, like survival effect of what works and what can we learn from that? »

Learn more about his wild, rural and rare cider at


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