The team at Liberty Fields is made up of Robert Imlach, Vicky Morland, Pete Lemmey and Alison Lemmey. Four friends who were interested in food, growing trees, biodiversity, and looking at serious alternative uses for some land on an organic dairy farm in Dorset.
A few years ago, Robert was making salad dressings and mayonnaise, and started to explore the possibility of sourcing all his ingredients as locally as possible. At the same time, he became fascinated by the Italian methods of balsamic vinegar production. He realised that locally grown apples could be processed and matured in exactly the same way as grapes are to make balsamic vinegar. He began by buying apples from local producers in Dorset and Somerset, but quickly realised how much better it would be if he could select the varieties grown for the exact right combination of taste and flavours.
Discussing this with Pete, who was interested in all things organic and was looking for innovative ways to diversify, and Ali, who has worked in horticulture for many years and loved the idea of growing an orchard, and Vicky, who was looking for new ways to use her marketing and sales experience, Liberty Fields was born!
In October 2009, we started to lay out and plan our first section of orchard. In Spring 2010 the first 250 trees went in, with the aid of some extremely helpful friends and volunteers, as well as a lot of expert advice. We now have 12 acres with over 1600 trees, including the Dorset Mother Orchard, We were lucky enough to be supported by Chalk & Cheese to receive a grant to convert some derelict farm buildings to our Solera (balsamic vinegar store) and work unit. We launched our first product, Apple Balsamic Vinegar, in November 2012.
In September 2013, we moved into our new buildings, and in Spring 2014 we launched our delicious Apple Aperitif (now known as Dessert Cider) following this with our Porter’s Perfection Vodka in 2016 and Apple Syrup in 2017.