Al Bryer and his partner, Lucy, took on the creation of CwmCou Organics back in 2013. Its a small farm of seventeen acres of pasture and woodland outside Cwmcou village, and a couple of miles from Newcastle Emlyn. In other words, a long way in many ways from anywhere but its another example of what can be done when land is reasonably priced and there is a responsive community around you.
Having acquired the land, the aim was to transform the smallholding and produce an abundance of healthy produce as a contribution to food security in the local community. Everything is organic and certified by the Soil Association, and methods are aimed at promotion of biodiversity and the return to stability and natural balance. Trees have been planted, and woodland is being managed with sensitivity to both the woodland and wildlife. The ubiquitous polytunnels of small scale growers have also of course gone up, but even here they have their own beetle banks. I can vouch that the wildlife in them is testament to the ethos of this lovely small enterprise.
In addition to the usual range of market garden and small field crops, Al and Lucy have planted over five hundred and eighty apple trees, which include three welsh varieties – Bardsey Island, Pig Aderyn and Trywn Mochyn. Other varieties have been chosen for disease resistant and good taste. In years to come the pressing the apples and bottling the juice should be some celebration.
There’s also a colourful mixture of hens and roosters which have the orchard as their range, and in so doing create their own biosphere where they scratch and forage for food while sheltering beneath the trees which are so kept clear and fertilized by them. All the eggs are sold in local shops and cafes. To top it all off there is a small flock of Llanwenog sheep, a local breed valued for their fine wool and excellent quality meat.
Its a lovely story of a young family creating a special life on the land and in so doing producing ‘seasonal food from a living system’. So much thought to the detail. Wonderful stuff!
For more on Cwmcou Organics the website or Facebook page.
[Double clicking on any of the images below will open up that image up in a slideshow format. You can then run the slide show using ‘left’ and ‘right’ buttons. Personally I prefer to go also to full screen having opened the slide show – F11 on my PC, don’t forget to get out of full screen is the same button , not ESC]