The Apple Farm
“Traas, a horticulturist, farmer and professor, baby-faced and wearing a khaki jumpsuit, was waiting for me in front of the large farm shop filled with bottles and apples of all colors and sizes.”
That’s how Sylvie Bigar described meeting Con Traas, of The Apple Farm, in The Washington Post, in her article about Ireland’s cider makers. Mr Traas might object to the “baby-faced” bit – and, in truth, he is more smiley-faced than baby-faced – but the rest is true: he wears a jumpsuit when he’s out in the orchard, and he is farmer, horticulturist, and professor. That mix of skills makes him almost unique in Ireland, and it is those skills that make The Apple Farm such a unique place.
By conventional reckoning, the Apple Farm should be, at best, a modest endeavour – it’s too small, and it faces the wrong way. But under the expert guidance of Con Traas – horticulturist, farmer and professor – The Apple Farm is a phenomenon, and it is probably the most creative farm in Ireland. How has Mr Traas done it?
Simple. He has abjured traditional thinking about how farms should work, and he works his farm according to his skills, and according to its uniqueness. That uniqueness gives it superb fruit – apples, plums, strawberries, and so on – and from that Mr Traas works his way along the apple matrix: if you have apples, then you also have apple juice, and cider, and cider vinegar, and apple jelly, and apple and strawberry juice, and apple and blackcurrant juice, and apple and raspberry juice. And then you sell all these delicious things from the barn and, in doing so, you turn conventional farm economics on its head.
Con Traas is the greatest disruptor in Irish agriculture. You just wouldn’t think it to look at him.
Must be that baby-face.
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