Each year since 2006 hundreds of farmers have opened their farms as part of Open Farm Sunday to welcome visitors to their farms. We took part in the first year and to our surprise forty people turned up, even though there was little publicity and it was a scorching day that made everyone want to just stand in the shade and eat ice cream, rather than walk around the fields. Every year since then, the event has received more and more publicity with ever increasing numbers of visitors. In our area, there’s always one farm taking part helped by a group of neighbouring farmers and this year we all persuaded Nick and Bridie Cousins to host.
Almost four hundred people came along on Sunday to Cressing Lodge Farm where there were tractor and trailer rides down the fields with guides explaining about the crops and fields, big farm machinery, old farm things, sheep and hens, children’s activities and competitions (with prizes!),cooking and tea and cakes for sale in the barn.
I was baking bread with James all day (though we did branch out into scones and cookies too) with flour that the children had made in a large grain mill. Some of the children were so enthusiastic about milling wheat that we had enough flour to set up a small bakery.
Our kitchen was a bit Heath Robinson and the cooker didn’t have any temperatures marked on the dials, so we just whacked up the heat to full and hoped for the best. We were trying to get children to make the connection between the wheat growing in the field and the bread that they later tasted. I’m not sure whether we were successful, but hopefully a few of them will see a combine in the field this harvest and remember their afternoon.