Recently we caught up with Katharine from Angel Feathers, an eco-friendly micro fruitery in the heart of Moel Famau, North Wales. We talked about her business and the work she’s done with Horticulture Wales. We love her story of taking the step from accountant to grower and maker!
Tell us about your business. When you started, what got you into it?
‘Angel Feathers was established in 2018 and, after a year of trying different recipes and botanicals, launched its first full strength unsweetened artisan fruit spirits in 2019. The gins and vodkas are sold in local independent shops and a few independently owned local pubs.
I’ve always enjoyed foraging and organic food, shopping at local farm shops and other independent shops. I also love growing trees, shrubs, plants and food! For over 20 years I’ve made liqueurs for friends and family. So when I was looking to change the direction of my career it seemed a good step to take. From accountant to artisan fruit gin and vodka maker!’
Who is involved in your business?
‘Angel Feathers is just me, although in the background my family help out loads. From building a fantastic new fruit cage to sampling the ever-increasing fruits and flavours!’
What do you currently grow?
‘On my small holding I grow Apple Trees, many varieties including several of the Heritage variety Anglesey Pig’s Snout from Ian Sturrock, rhubarb, tayberries, blackcurrants and lavender for the bees.
I also have approximately 250 native deciduous trees which I planted up about 8 years ago. Or maybe 6 or 12 years ago… who knows now!
Oh and there are new fruits that I’ve not yet used for my gin – chuckleberries, gooseberries and some even newer fruits that are waiting to be planted up in the spring….I need more growing space and another fruit cage!!!
A lot of the fruit is grown on my small holding. No pesticides are used, and organic principals are followed. If I need an ingredient that won’t grow in the Welsh hill climate, I spend the time to source it from an organic, ethical supplier and follow the supply chain back to the source. An example of this is the organic Italian Mandarins used for the Mandarin Gin.
I compost most of my waste, reuse or repurpose other waste.’
What are your future plans for the business?
‘Over the next five years I’d love to grow more fruits, make more spirit flavours, expand my outlets.
I’m very conscious of my plastic footprint so I am trying to reduce my single use plastic even further than I already have. Now I am a Plastic Free Business Champion for Mold Plastic Reduction. My aim is to become a completely plastic free business as soon as possible.’
What difference has being a member of Horticulture Wales made to your business?
‘I first used Horticulture Wales back in September 2019. I went on a workshop about sustainability – something that is very important to me and the business. I learnt a lot on the workshop and got to meet some amazing local people…including one of the founders of Plastic Reduction Mold!
I’ve also had lots of information directly from Isobel when I’ve asked her numerous questions over the last few months! So far being a member has made only a small impact as I feel I have only just started using your services. A few times though people have sat up and took notice when I have said ‘yes I am a member of Hort Wales’ I’m hoping to be able to use more of them this year. I’m in the Short Supply Chain Cluster and the Heritage Orchard Cluster. I’ve not been on any of their events yet. I hope to go on some this year – particularly if they are local to me!’
Thank you Katherine.