Head down to the farm

Head down to the farm

Posted 12th May 2014

Britain's farmers are flinging open their farm gates so we can learn more about how they grow our food and care for our countryside

On 8th of June our nation's hard-working farmers will be welcoming visitors to see behind the scenes on their farms as part of Open Farm Sunday. This is the ninth Open Farm Sunday event and over 350 farms across the country will be taking part. With a theme of ‘Celebrate British farming and food' the event will reflect our growing interest in buying British and our increasing demand to know more about how our food is grown and produced. The majority of events are held at working farms, a small number of smallholdings, farms run by schools and city farms. Together they will be showcasing the range and diversity of British farming. From guided farm walks and tractor and trailer rides to full open days, there are all sorts of exciting events planned on farms across the country. You may get the chance to see a sheep being sheared, cows being milked or even chicks being hatched. Many farms will also be organising nature trails to help you enjoy the peace and beauty of the countryside. Even those of you who love machinery will find plenty to enjoy as there will be lots of tractors and tools on display too. Make a day of it and take a picnic to enjoy with family and friends.

Old Farm
Dorn, Moreton in Marsh, Gloucestershire, GL56 9NS

The Righton family have been farming at Dorn for three generations. In 2002 Simon and Sarah Righton moved into the farmhouse with their children Sam and Meg, dogs BB and Bluey and horses taking over from Simon's parents John and Sheila. The 300-acre tenant farm is just to the north of Moreton-in-Marsh and forms part of the Batsford Estate. They breed sheep, cattle and their very own Glamrock pigs (half Gloucestershire Old Spot, quarter Hampshire and quarter Duroc) as well as producing cereals to sell and hay and silage to feed to the stock over the winter months. Part of the farm has been entered into the Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) which benefits wildlife by creating and preserving habitats through over-wintered stubble, hedge planting/laying and field margins. They have an area of arable reversion as there are Roman remains under one of the fields. This has now been grassed over to protect what lies beneath and they only use minimum tillage on the surrounding area. The Rightons opened a farm shop in 2004 to sell their home-reared meats and free range eggs.

Events on Open Farm Sunday:
Farm walk, butchery demonstration, sheep shearing, pig roast, tea and cakes, farm animals, big machines and more.
The farm will be open from 11am to 3pm.
For enquiries, call 01608 650394, email sarah@oldfarmdorn.co.uk or visit www.oldfarmdorn.co.uk

Uncle Henry's
Grayingham Grange Farm, Grayingham, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, DN21 4JD

Uncle Henry's is an award-winning farm shop, butchery and café, based in the Lincolnshire countryside, which showcases the best in local and regional food and drink. They offer a wide range of products from Lincolnshire producers and their own farm, providing a real farm to fork experience. Winners of over 100 awards, including Non Multiple Retailer of the Year 2011 and Contribution to the Community 2011 and winner of Select Lincolnshire Producer of the Year 2013, they have also just been awarded Retailer of the Year 2014. Uncle Henry's Farm shop is at the centre of a busy working farm, which provides both pig-meat and potatoes for sale in the shop. The farm, which is located either side of the A15, grows a mixture of different crops and is also home to 700 breeding Large White/Landrace sows and piglets.

Events on Open Farm Sunday:
Pig racing, dog show, BBQ, hog roast, various stalls, traditional bowls, ferret game.
The farm will be open from 10am to 4pm.
For enquiries, call 01652 640308, email info@unclehenrys.co.uk or visit www.unclehenrys.co.uk

Bottom Farm

Hargrave, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, NN9 6BP

Duncan Farrington was born and brought up on Bottom Farm in the Northamptonshire village of Hargrave. He is the fourth generation of the Farrington family to farm, and works Bottom Farm in partnership with his father, Robert. Whilst studying at university and observing how Europe was enthusiastically embracing rapeseed oil, Duncan had started to develop a healthy interest in the potential benefits the crop might bring to Bottom Farm. Duncan launched Farrington Oils Ltd, and in 2005 launched Farrington's Mellow Yellow - a cold pressed rapeseed oil, becoming Britain's first ‘seed to bottle' producer. Now, Farrington Oils is a successful thriving business, employing family members, including Duncan's mother Angela, who helps bottle the oil, and other full and part-time people from the local area. Duncan says, ‘I am really proud that Mellow Yellow is a success for Bottom Farm and our area. I don't get to drive a tractor as much as I did, but that's a small price to pay.'

Events on Open Farm Sunday:
Learn about how the Farringtons grow their crops; find out what foods they make - including their famous rapeseed oil range. Try making your own salad dressing in their food workshops. Enjoy a farm walk and factory tour, sit on the tractors, learn about how they look after bumblebees, stroke farm animals. Enjoy some local food and drink both to eat during the day and to take home for later.
The farm will be open from 10am to 3pm.
For enquiries, call 01933 622809, email info@farrington-oils.co.uk or visit www.farrington-oils.co.uk

Amelia Trust Farm
Five Mile Lane, Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, CF62 3AS

The Amelia Trust Farm is a Care Farm, registered charity and a working farm set in 160 acres of countryside, which includes 28 acres of woodlands and a variety of habitats. Established in 1991, the core objective is to support and educate vulnerable and disadvantaged young people and provides school intervention and an alternative curriculum. Each young person has a unique development programme. Within the programme some young people will be aiming to complete some accredited recognition in a variety of subject areas including animal care, horse care, woodlands and woodwork. Last year 82% of the young people who attended went on to further education, employment or volunteering. Through fun and work-based activities the young people are empowered to participate, learn new skills and develop potential. The many people that make up the daily community on the farm include skilled staff and volunteers, young people who are discovering life, adults with learning difficulties in work placements and members of the public enjoying the countryside; it is a fantastic recipe that makes the Amelia Trust an amazing place to be.

Events on Open Farm Sunday:

Wildlife talk, nature-based activities, guided tours of the farm, explore a shepherd's lambing tool kit and lots more.
The farm will be open from 2pm to 4pm.
For enquiries, call 01446 782030, email general@ameliatrust.org.uk or visit www.ameliatrust.org.uk

The Grange Farm
Warrington Road, Mickle Trafford, Chester, Cheshire, CH2 4EB

The Rowland family have been farming at The Grange since 1947. Their main activity is rearing traditional breed Red Poll cattle, which they run as a beef suckler herd. The cows graze the lush meadows of the River Gowy valley for most of the year, although they are housed inside during the winter months. Their meat is sold directly from the farm in any quantity, all of which has been hung for a minimum of three weeks and butchered locally. They also grow a small acreage of low input spring barley, and have just over 20 acres of poplar tree plantations. The trees will eventually be used for making items such as shop counters and kitchen worktops, and are a joint venture with the Poplar Tree Company from Lulham in Herefordshire.

Events on Open Farm Sunday:
Guided farm walks will take place and there will be activities in the farm's community kitchen garden.
The farm will be open from 10am to 4pm.
For enquiries, call 01244 300655, email huw.rowlands145@btinternet.com or visit www.rowlandsredpolls.co.nr

North Bellshill Farm

Belford, Northumberland, NE70 7HP

Bellshill is a traditional family farm producing cereals, beef and sheep, located between Berwick-upon-Tweed and Alnwick, bordering the edge of the spectacular Northumberland National Park. The farm extends to 136 hectares (338 acres) and they grow a variety of arable crops and run an expanding flock of home bred ewes. The Renner family have farmed in this area for over four hundred years and a strong tradition of combining environmental care with sound, practical farming runs right through the business.

Events on Open Farm Sunday:
Wildlife walks will take place with experts in birds, the environment and best farming practices. Wander through the woods, down to the ponds to do some pond dipping and look at the fantastic views of the countryside.
The farm will be open from 10am to 4pm.
For enquiries, call 07974 331942, email info@bellshillfarm.co.uk or visit www.bellshillfarm.co.uk

Find out more
To find out which farms in your area are taking part in Open Farm Sunday, visit www.farmsunday.org

By Anna-Lisa De'Ath

Read the rest of the feature on p.94 of the May/June 14 issue...

Photos courtesy of Huw Rowland, Jan Wilson Brackendale Photography



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