June 11th proved to have perfect weather for our Open Farm Sunday at East Hall Farm. Our even ran alongside a National Garden Open Scheme event at St. Paul’s Walden Bury, so that visitors to the gardens could stop by to learn about food production, farming and the countryside, and taste ice-cream made by a local dairy farmer, and our visitors could go onto enjoy the gardens, and tea and cakes offered by the local parish church.
Several farmers and organisations came together to provide an interesting range of displays. The Patemans joined us from Burleigh Farm, Knebworth, with a fantastic display about soils, and also arranged that a John Deere tractor and no-till drill were on display.
Within the Walls, a care-farming project, was represented and provided nature art and craft activities for children to complete.
From East Hall Farm we had information about the nature conservation work we do as part of our higher level scheme agreement, and also the crops we grow, as well as a small tractor which lots of children enjoyed sitting on. We also had tractor-trailer rides around the farm, showing our mob-grazing of Hereford and Sussex cattle, crops, field margins and conservation work.
Tom Chapman from Meadow Hay Dairies brought a mobile milking unit and talked about production of raw milk (unpasteurised), while Claire Daw from Dawlicious sold home-made ice-cream made at Daw’s farm at Hertford Heath
A steady flow of visitors enabled us to host about 250 people over the course of the afternoon, without there every being a queue for the tractor-trailer rides.
Many thanks to all those who completed visitor feedback forms, which allow us to plan for future years. The tractor-trailer rides proved the most popular offering. It would seem that most of our visitors had not been to an open farm Sunday before, and for some, it was their first visit to a farm. We were pleased to hear that so many people rated the event good and excellent , and that almost all claimed they had learned something new about farming during their visit. Particularly pleasing was visitor’s growing appreciation of farmers’ role in managing the environment.
Open Farm Sunday 2018 will be on June 10th, so if you missed us this year, or would like to return again next year, note the date. Lots of farms open there doors at Open Farm Sunday, so you would always try another farm as well.
At East Hall Farm we also offer visits to school groups – so feel free to get in touch if you would like to book to bring a group or class on a farm tour or for Forest School, or contact Within the Walls for gardening activities. See our website Outdoor Learning Experiences