WHAT'S SO SPECIAL ABOUT ISLAY BARLEY?
- 5 mins
“It’s totally different farming here, it just is,” says Hunter Jackson, Islay farmer and seed merchant for the island.
“It’s not monoculture,” Hunter says, as he describes a landscape with around 1,000 acres producing malting barley, across 20 farms this year. There's wide variation in growing conditions and soils, even on the one farm.
From the air, you can see that Islay is a tapestry of small parcels of green and gold fields set between vast expanses of rusty scrub moorland imprinted only with peat workings and iron age forts. Statistically, only 6.5% of Islay’s land is potentially ploughable, and barley is raised on 0.6% of the island, all farms combined.