The Apple Farm
At this stage in his career, everyone knows that Con Traas is the apple farmer, at Cahir's The Apple Farm.
Battalions of us have paid a visit, making the sharp turn into the farm driveway, on the road between Cahir and Clonmel, before loading the car up with apples, juices, raspberries, plums, and whatever we can get our hands on in the barn, where Con’s produce is presented for sale.
Scores more have ordered online, with boxes of apple juices heading to all points throughout Ireland. We make our way to The Apple Farm because Con’s produce is exceptional: apples from The Apple Farm are the best you can get, and Con is the best apple farmer in Ireland.
There is another word, however, that describes Con Traas even more accurately, and that word is: polymath. In addition to his considerable duties at the farm, Con also lectures in the Department of Biological Sciences, in the School of Natural Sciences at the University of Limerick. So the farmer is also an academic authority on fruit growing. But that scarcely even hints at his range of interests, which are best seen in the frequent Apple Club Newsletters which Mr Traas has posted out for the last two decades.
Here he describes his work, and also the things he is interested in. So, Volume 21 of the Newsletter, for instance, opens with a lengthy enquiry into the causes of inflation, with a concentration on the world of agriculture. There is also a detailed analysis of the changes in the EU’s CAP agricultural system, and a charming piece on how to reduce the vigour of a fruit tree by pruning its roots. We also learn what is for sale in the shop, how the farm has switched to an all-electric courier service in order to reduce its carbon footprint, and the Children’s page has a selection of stories as told by elderly residents in the Cahir, Ardfinnan and Clogheen area.
See? A polymath at work. Economics, politics, society, and pruning apple tree roots. All in a day’s good work for the polymath apple farmer from The Apple Farm.