The Founding of Heron Farm
The site was initially established in 2010 by River Cottage’s then Head Gardener, Mark Diacono, and was called ‘Otter Farm’.
Mark’s vision was to create a so-called ‘Climate Change Farm’, populated with food-producing trees and plants more traditionally associated with warmer climates, but which have the potential to grow sustainably in Devon as the impact of climate change is increasingly felt.
Mark was also interested in reviving ‘forgotten’ foods, popular in previous times but not so much today. Examples of produce grown on site (in addition to the vineyard) includes quince, medlars, persimmons, apricots, walnuts, sweet chestnuts, almonds, pecans, cherries, Asian pears, to name but a few.
In addition Mark established the vineyard and an apple orchard. You can find out more about Mark and Otter Farm’s beginnings here.
In 2016/2017 the site was the subject of a ‘Grand Designs’ episode, during which Mark and his family designed and built a striking plough-shaped house, and a matching building which was intended for use as a cookery school.
The latter building was built out of cob, a traditional building material in the South West that is predominantly made out of mud and straw. A cob-walled garden was also constructed as part of the project.You can watch the Grand Designs episode here
In 2018 Christine and Peter took over the site and renamed it Heron Farm, in honour of a heron that is frequently seen on the river Otter which forms part of the boundary.
Christine and Peter plan to develop the site by opening a café and farmshop, running vineyard tours and tasting sessions, and introducing some ‘Glamping’ on site.