A farmer from Co Armagh is raising a toast after scooping a prestigious fine food award.
Greg MacNeice’s family have farmed in Ardress for over 150 years. He now manages Mac Ivors Cider Co and is earning many fans with his award-winning craft ciders.
And some of those fans include the judges at the National Trust, who have handed him a National Trust Fine Food Produce Award.
The annual awards celebrate the very best produce from the National Trust’s 1,500 tenant farmers and estates across Northern Ireland, England and Wales.
Mac Ivors Cider Company picked up their gong for their medium and traditional dry cider. The results were announced this week at the BBC Countryfile Live event at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, England.
Talking about the ciders, Greg said: “We use tried and tested production methods to get as close as possible to the taste of a freshly picked apple.
“No preservatives or additives, just freshly pressed apples and yeast. Then we let nature takes its course.”
Sustainability is at the heart of the Greg’s ethos.
“Not using insecticides is very beneficial to our native bumblebee population, which in turn is good news for our orchard – we’re just giving nature a helping hand.”
The MacNeice family traditions are in evidence throughout the orchard. From using predominantly traditional farming methods to protecting the orchard’s oldest residents.
“Among our hundred acres we have a couple of dozen trees that are over 125 years old, so we do everything possible to preserve them,” said Greg.