Willy’s story started with the humble potato. Today, it’s all about 48 special apple varieties grown at Willy’s Herefordshire home and turned into raw Apple Cider Vinegar. Here, the orchards are ancient, and the biodiversity is unique. It’s also home to ‘The Mother’, the most important star in our story.
“Willy’s is my third and most exciting brand launch yet. Tyrrells, Chase, Willy’s – I find nothing more satisfying than making something from scratch at source. The farmer in me is also the reason I take immense pleasure from making things myself. I want to go to the trouble of growing, harvesting, pressing, fermenting, bottling and even designing the product myself. Pedigree and taste is everything to me. I want people to feel more connected to their food and appreciate that it isn’t always just a process, it’s a way of life. You will hear me talking a lot about my 300 year old orchards at Laddin Farm and ‘The Mother’ in my apple cider vinegar – she’s 100% real and alive in every bottle I produce.
I have traded potatoes for most of my life but was fortunate to inherit 200 acres of untouched old organic orchards when I moved to Laddin Farm in 2005. It’s in a village called Little Miracle, a beautiful and fruitful place in Herefordshire.
I fell in love with the old trees. The sense of balance in the old orchards was incredible and I felt it was my duty to preserve it. The apples made the most incredible cider and having learnt the craft of fermenting alcohol, I soon realised that a new trend for fermented health foods was gathering momentum, and tried my hand at the next step of creating apple cider vinegar with the help of ‘The Mother’.
I love the fact that ACV is a tried and trusted drink that our ancestors have been fermenting for centuries. Since Roman times, the benefits of fermenting apples into cider and further, apple cider vinegar have been recognised. I’ve learnt that the best cider vinegar is made from wonky, ripe apples that come in all shades and shapes. In fact, the growing trend for natural ferments like Apple Cider Vinegar means I am able to rescue acres of old bitter-sweet orchards which have been disregarded as cider makers favour sweeter apples to fuel the rocketing demand for sweet, sugar enhanced ciders that are now in vogue. One fruit, one county, two completely opposing trends.
People ask me if I’ve had my ACV tested and verified. YES in that I can vouch for the benefits myself, it’s changed my life. I take 25ml daily with fresh beetroot juice and I’ve lost 2 stone, I have lowered my cholesterol, increased my energy levels and I sleep better. I also believe the science of how a mildly acidic product like ACV can shrink swelling in the body, hence why people like Sir Ran Fiennes claim it helped relieve his arthritis symptoms. I invite you to share your stories with me of how ACV might have improved a part of your life. You might even end up in the Willy’s Annual which will record all my favourite stories and testimonials from across the year. Thanks for following.”