Highgrove is the private residence of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, near Tetbury in Gloucestershire. Since 1980 when the Prince of Wales first arrived at Highgrove, His Royal Highness has devoted much energy to transforming the home farm, which is now renowned as one of the most inspiring and innovative organic farms in the United Kingdom
The Duke believes passionately in the advantages of organic farming. In 1985, when it was still a relatively new concept, His Royal Highness decided to convert the Duchy Home Farm into a completely organic farming system. Twenty-eight years later, Home Farm is not only a successful and viable working farm, but a flagship for the benefits of an organic, sustainable form of agriculture.
As Patron of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, The Duke is keen for Home Farm to play an active role in helping to preserve the gene pool of British pigs, sheep and cattle. Over the years, these breeds have increasingly been replaced by foreign breeds and breeding programmes more suited to intensive farming methods. To help counteract this, Home Farm features animals including Tamworth pigs, Irish Moiled, Gloucester, Shetland and British White cattle, as well as Hebridean and Shropshire sheep. These rare breeds are highly prized by The Duke for the quality of their produce and natural affinity with the British farming landscape.
Twenty-three years ago, when the Prince purchased Highgrove with an initial 25 acres, organic was not the obsession it is today. Although he had a curiosity and interest in farming there was no talk initially of going organic. His aim was 'biologically sustainable farming'. In the early Eighties, the Duchy began to purchase surrounding farms and parcels of land, and the Prince went looking for a farm manager. David Wilson remembers being asked at his interview if he was interested in organic farming and automatically saying yes, although he wasn't entirely sure what it was. 'We've been learning together since 1985,' he says.
David’s son Luke is now the shepherd, having recently taken on the flock of 300 two years ago.
Alongside the sheep, cows and pigs, experienced organic farmer, Fred Bonestroo, grows over 100 varieties of fruit & veg at Home Farm Highgrove. This is a truly incredible operation, and all the more impressive given the fact that Fred operates solo for most of the year (with ad hoc assistance from volunteers). Fred specialises in growing over 100 different organic crops focusing on roots (especially potatoes with a large number of different varieties), brassicas and squashes at Home Farm Highgrove. This is a truly incredible operation, and all the more impressive given the fact that Fred operates solo for most of the year (with ad hoc assistance from volunteers). The farm is also home to an extensive collection of heritage apples trees from the Brogdale Collection - with over one thousand varieties in the orchard. Selling primarily to local pubs, restaurants and grocers, Fred also has a small stall at the front of the farm operating on an honesty box system.