Many thanks to Dr. Peter Martin, Director at the Agronomy Institute, Orkney College (University of the Highlands & Islands) for sending us this photo of bere barley being planted for us at Watersfield Farm on 5th April.
Peter says: “We have had a couple of weeks of cold but dry and bright weather so that Orkney farmers have been able to cultivate and drill their crops several weeks earlier than normal. We have also planted bere for Bruichladdich’s Bere whisky. This is the earliest we have sown Bere so we hope it is not too early!”
All of which suggests that conditions on Orkney have been similar to those here on Islay – let’s hope we have all guessed right. Land and dram united!
Bere is an ancient ‘Landrace’ of barley, one of the oldest cultivated cereals in the world. Each ear holds six rows of grains that are smaller than those associated with modern strains of cultivated barley, which only hold two rows. Bere grows well in the short but intense growing season on Orkney, with its long summer days and short summer nights.
The Agronomy Institute are growing Bere exclusively for Bruichladdich during 2013.