Ben speaks to Cambridgeshire grower Calixta Killander who founded Flourish in 2017.
Today we’re heading to Cambridgeshire to meet grower Calixta Killander who founded Flourish in 2017 which focuses on producing unusual produce for chefs. Initially a market garden Calixta’s enterprise has now grown to include fruits, vegetables, herbs, heritage grains, salads and flowers on 56 acres. Her ambition is to produce nutrient dense food and supply directly to her customers as well as create a truly regenerative farm that goes beyond most people’s expectations. Flourish was built on horsepower with Calixta’s two Comtois horses – Bill and Ben – doing all the farm’s fieldwork from ploughing to cultivating, muck spreading and weeding until 2020. They are now in retirement. But Calixta’s journey towards a life on the land did not start in eastern England but in the United States, where she spent 6 ½ years learning and honing her craft.
Ben Eagle is the founder and Head of Podcasts at RuralPod Media, a specialist rural podcast production agency. He is also a freelance rural affairs and agricultural journalist. You can find out more at ruralpodmedia.co.uk or benjamineagle.co.uk
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A-Plan Rural Insurance
This episode is sponsored by our primary sponsor A Plan Rural.
Farmer to Farmer Podcast
Image credit: Callixta Killander
00:27 Ben introduces the show.
1:50 Calixta comes in.
2:36 How does Calixta decide what to grow?
4:25 Growing peppers and chillies.
5:20 Heritage grains.
9:59 Sponsor message for A Plan Rural Insurance.
10:44 Calixta's life growing up.
12:35 Calixta finds a university in the US.
13:54 Time in Hawaii
15:05 Why did Calixta come back to the UK? The story of the horses Bill and Ben.
17:04 Buying equipment from the Amish.
18:20 Establishing the farm - year 1.
20:40 Calixta turns up at restaurants.
22:30 Working with restaurants.
23:54 Building a team.
25:26 The issue of recruitment and the labour issue.
30:04 The workers are the most important.
30:20 The issue of nutrient density.
33:46 Sponsor message for A Plan Rural Insurance.
34:09 The challenge of climate and the weather.
37:29 Calixta's vision for the future.
40:02 Calixta's message to the public.
41:17 Calixta's message to farmers.
43:34 Shout out for the Farmer to Farmer podcast.
44:35 Ben rounds up the show.