John Hamilton, Comber
John is one of our main suppliers. I first met him at school when I was about 11 and even then it was plain that John’s passion was farming. Today he works the family farm with the help of his sons and daughters and grows carrots, parsnips & Comber spuds.
We start with the young “Bunched Comber Carrots” in June while the tops are still green and then as autumn frosts and harsher weather moves in the carrots are gathered with the brown tops taken off. John’s “dirty carrots” have flavour. They are freshly harvested and delivered daily.
It is a very pleasurable experience to be able to maintain contact with farming families through into the next generation. There is a strong feeling of community and belonging which makes the job of greengrocery more meaningful and worthwhile as we are interdependent on each other’s abilities.
Brian Hampton, Armagh
Armagh is famous for growing “Bramley”cooking apples and is known as the orchard county of Ireland. It is here that Brian Hampton lives with his family in an original farmhouse surrounded by orchards, which he solely commits to growing apples, both cooking and eating varieties. The Armagh “Bramley” needs no introduction it is renowned for flavour and taste. He also currently grows over 12 varieties of eating apples including the well established “Lord Lamborne”, “Worcester Permain”, and ” Laxton Superb” as well as more recently planted new variety eating apples such as the “Johnagored” the ” Falstaff” and the “Royal Gala” which have become exceptionally popular and are requested and ordered long before their harvesting date of mid November.
Brian has various varieties of eating apples becoming ripe and ready for customers from end August until mid December. As each variety has been chosen in line with our climate this allows him to supply continually each variety of apple unique in its own flavour and texture as fresh as it comes off the trees.
Brian’s family have been involved in farming and orchards from the late 16th century. The knowledge, and land has been passed down through generations of the Hampton family. Brian and his family are well known in the industry and Brian continues to win cups and trophies for Orchard maintenance, quality control, production and presentation of his orchards.
Brian is very tuned in with nature and the pollination period is so important that he has local honey bees brought into the farm and placed around the orchards to ensure the best coverage at blossom time. He therefore ensures that the bee will pollinate the flower and therefore create the apple as nature intended naturally!!
Brian is passionate about creating a market for locally grown apples and indeed many restaurants within the greater Belfast Area quite proudly name Brian as the grower when serving these local dessert apples that go exceptionally well with a cheeseboard to finish off a meal. As well as restaurants Brian, Noella and their two young children, Gareth and Laura, regularly attend local food and speciality shows including farmers markets. It is very much a local family business with a personal touch and attention.
Brian has been associated with Homegrown for the last 12 years. We have exactly the same values in presenting locally produced food directly to the customer where the flavour and nurturing is abundantly clear. The quality assurance and personal touch of a local shop ensure numerous satisfied customers.