It all be­gan with a mul­berry…

The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Life Lifestyle -

The main at­trac­tion of the fields was that they were al­most com­pletely un­cul­ti­vated. “They were so blank. They hadn’t been stamped with any­thing,” says Mark. “The sheer po­ten­tial of it was as­ton­ish­ing. King­fish­ers were fly­ing around every­where, and it was just a gor­geous place to be. Can­dida felt the same.” Fast for­ward a decade, and their de­ci­sion to pur­chase Ot­ter Farm has lit­er­ally borne fruit. Here Mark has es­tab­lished Bri­tain’s only “cli­mate change farm”, on which are grown fruit and veg­eta­bles that tra­di­tion­ally only flour­ished in warmer climes. “Some de­gree of cli­mate change is in­evitable, and even a small al­ter­ation in tem­per­a­ture al­lows mar­ginal things to grow from over­seas. Things like apri­cots and al­monds nor­mally have huge car­bon foot­prints as­so­ci­ated with them. The idea was to grow them here with zero car­bon, and in­spire other people to do the same,” he says. Among the be­wil­der­ing ar­ray of ex­otic foods pro­duced on the farm are ki­wis and grapes, dwarf apri­cots and peaches, Nepalese pep­per and east­ern mint, Ja­panese quinces, bam­boo shoots, mirabelles and Amer­i­can blad­der­nuts. But it is the hum­ble mul­berry that oc­cu­pies a spe­cial place in Mark’s heart. “The seed for Ot­ter Farm was hid­den in­side the first mul­berry I ate, the sum­mer be­fore we came here,” he re­calls. “Eaten per­fectly ripe from a friend’s tree in Suf­folk, and fol­lowed by sev­eral mul­berry vod­kas made from the pre­vi­ous year’s fruit, it blew me away. It was the finest fruit I’d tasted, yet never in the shops. I thought, crikey, here I

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