It has been the lifelong dream of both of us to run a traditional smallholding, and to share it with visitors. We want to work both on and for the land - growing produce and rearing stock in a sensitive, sustainable and holistic way - in harmony with Nature, rather than battling against her.
Although not Soil Association registered, we aim to work along organic and permaculture lines, and the principles of avoiding harming the environment by artificial inputs as well as making full use of rotation and natural enrichment of the soil is an important part of that approach. We have always though of mankind’s role not to be lords of the natural world, but stewards of it - protecting and nurturing diverse species in appropriate habitats. Indeed the rich diversity of wildlife we aim to encourage on the farm not only plays an essential part in the health of the land, but, through careful placing of hides, is something special we hope to share with our visitors.
Stephen is a historian and retired Royal Navy Officer. His 27 year career took him from the Baltic to the South China Sea by way of the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean.
He has met many interesting people and sampled the culture and cuisine of many nations from reindeer in the frozen fjords of Norway and rendang in the lush jungles of Indonesia, to goat in the parched hills of Afghanistan and snapper from the coral reefs of the Red Sea. Whilst all the places he has visited had something to recommend them, he is unshakable in his assertion that Wales is the best country in the world.
His experience in catering and logistics are invaluable on the smallholding with so many mouths to feed, whilst many years in Whitehall have honed his ability to do the impossible with inadequate resources to unrealistic deadlines.
Having dabbled in a number of languages round the world, he is now trying to master Welsh, as well as the languages of chickens and pigs.
Sue is an award winning wildlife, lifestyle and action photographer, who read Zoology and Agriculture at Aberystwyth, and has had a life-long connection with farming and Wales.
Having joined the WRNS as a general duties officer, she enjoyed a number of unique appointments for a female officer at the time, including looking after nuclear submarines and working with the Royal Marines, before leaving to make a career in marketing, training and boarding school recruitment, and then running her own photography business.
Her experience in agriculture is vital in managing the smallholding, and her creative flair and marketing experience have proven invaluable in designing the marketing materials for Black Orchard.
They are both inseparable from Pip the dog, a 12 year old rescued curly-coated collie. Pip is now retired but spent many years as a Pets As Therapy dog visiting care and dementia homes. She also competed at agility, which she still loves, and used to be in a display team demonstrating obedience, flyball, agility, tricks and fire-jumping, and has even made a couple of television appearances. She likes nothing better than showing off her tricks to an audience so just ask if you want to see her strut her stuff! As you can see, she simply adores visiting the local beach at Pembrey.