Open Farm Sunday 2014

by the pond

taking a break

slamseys gin

a chance to buy gin and find out how where the fruit comes from

Each year we take part in Open Farm Sunday, where farms around the UK open their gates, without an entry charge, to show people what happens on their farm. Some years we help neighbouring farmers and some years we host. This year it was our turn to host, so last week the yard was swept and tidied, risk assessments carried out, barrier tape strung up and hand washing facilities installed (a trough under an outside tap) as neighbours brought in extra farm machinery, a demonstration beehive and hand operated flour mills.

soda bread

soda bread making workshop for children

Yesterday morning, the sun shone as our team of helpers arrived, followed by over five hundred visitors who took guided walks around the fields with farmers, foragers, agronomists and wildlife experts and took part in a national survey of pollinating insects en route. In the yard, children stood in awe of the combine or beeped the horn on the telescopic handler (until someone disconnected the battery), while in The Barley Barn, they milled wheat into flour to make individual soda breads or covered themselves in paint as they made prints.

gloucestershire old spots pigs

the pigs loved all the attention

It was an exhausting day and we couldn’t have done it without our neighbouring farmers, the wildlife and agricultural experts and the ladies from The J’s Hospice (suppliers of excellent tea and cake) all of whom gave up their day to help. But was it worth it? Financially, no but a resounding yes when a child’s face lights up at the sight of a pig or an older child makes the connection between what grows in the field and the food on their plate. Perhaps most of all, it makes us farmers realise how lucky we are and that the things we take for granted are amazing to others.

 

Plans have already been discussed for next year’s event. Keep 7th June 2015 free.

29 thoughts on “Open Farm Sunday 2014

  1. Selma's Table says:

    Anne, that does sound like a rewarding if exhausting day – even the sun was shining! Is there a way to make the event financially viable? I would have thought the people would have wanted to buy lots of farm produce but I am quite sure that it takes a lot of work in the months/days running up to the event to have enough produce to sell…PS you may want to edit the title to 2014!

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    • Anne @ Life in Mud Spattered Boots says:

      Thank you! I don’t know if I’m coming or going today and obviously got way ahead of myself 🙂
      As we grow wheat, we don’t really have produce to sell and sometimes it’s good to do things for the community rather than profit. Our daughter sold her fruit gin so at least one of us made a profit.

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  2. cheri says:

    What a wonderful thing to do Anne, to host the event for the town and all the farmers. Sounds like you live in a wonderful community. Beautiful farm you have.

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  3. Jane @ Shady Baker says:

    This sounds like a successful day Anne. Well done on the soda breads…they look great. Those pigs are gorgeous! I think your last line says it all, what we take for granted some people find amazing. We do live a unique and special lifestyle. Well done!

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  4. Gather and Graze says:

    What a wonderful project to be a part of each year Anne! Great for bringing together the local community and sharing with them your farming life. So pleased it turned out to be a beautiful day for you!

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  5. nancy@jamjnr says:

    Errrrmmm….I still listen to the Archers Omnibus every Monday evening whilst I’m cooking dinner and they were talking about their Open Farm Sunday which sounds way to full of drama to be good. But anyway – 500 people sounds like a lot but it’s nice there is so much interest in farming and that people make an effort to come along. I guess/hope it makes all the hard work worthwhile.

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  6. Glenda says:

    Anne, it is a great idea. I really worry when city children have no connection between food and its production. Two generations ago every child would have known about cows and milk and wheat and bread etc, now only country children know. How sad. You are doing your bit to remedy this situation. Congratulations.

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    • Anne @ Life in Mud Spattered Boots says:

      One of our farmers asked the children what was in fish fingers (he was going to explain about the breadcrumbs) but was rather taken aback when one child shouted out “chicken”. The connection may be more fractured than we realise. Or maybe it was a very young child.

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  7. e / dig in hobart says:

    how wonderful, that city/urban children (and adults!) get the chance to see where their food comes from (though i wonder if they really want to think about the piggies turning into bacon?!).
    how wonderful too, for my eyes, to see such beautifully sunny meadows. this has been a bleak winter’s week here in hobart, and the UK gardening blogs i visit like yours are really helping me get thru.

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  8. knitsofacto says:

    My friend recently met a holidaying mother and children while out walking who were looking trepidatiously over a style at a handful of young heifers in a field . She thought perhaps they were worried by recent stories in the press of cows trampling people and explained that it was quite safe to proceed as she hopped over the style herself. The mother replied that she wasn’t sure, she had never trusted horses. Goodness knows where those kids think milk comes from!

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