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BLOG: Being a food-producing celebrity for a day

Our Cow Molly is a working dairy farm four miles from Sheffield city centre and on the edge of the Peak District National Park. Here Eddie Andrew shares their story of taking part in Open Farm Sunday.

We have 80 cows which, for the major­i­ty of the year, are out­side graz­ing in the pastures.

Most dairy farms milk the cows and then store the milk in a tank for a milk proces­sor like ARLA to col­lect but on our farm we process the milk our­selves pro­duce cream, churn but­ter and make our own ice-cream. We have an ice-cream par­lour too so there’s a lot to see. 

We have tak­en part in LEAF Open Farm Sun­day for years, start­ing with just a few vis­i­tors. We now see in excess of 2000 through­out the day. As the event has grown, we have involved more and more folk to come and help. Our McCormick Trac­tor came from Barlow’s in Mac­cles­field and our rep came and spent the day explain­ing to the vis­i­tors all about a mod­ern tractor. 

We also link up with Pro­fes­sor Dun­can Cameron’s P3 plant sci­ence depart­ment from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Sheffield who spend the day teach­ing all about soil sci­ence with a fab­u­lous twist for the younger vis­i­tors — Soil Secret Agents’! — bring­ing lots of props with them. 

By invit­ing lots of folk we do busi­ness with, and all linked with farm­ing to come and help, it takes the pres­sure off us. We can focus on doing the farm tours which, for us, is my dad Gra­ham with the milk­ing par­lour, broth­er Dan with milk pro­cess­ing dairy and a behind-the-scenes look at how we make ice-cream with Scott. 

When it comes to food and drink, we again invite our local farm­ing friends to help out. Moss Val­ley Fine Meats do the BBQ and Brad­field Brew­ery pro­vide a great pint of Farmer’s Ale. 

There are plen­ty of mate­ri­als to help run your event on the LEAF Open Farm Sun­day web­site includ­ing a free ban­ner for your farm gate. There are also some amaz­ing spon­sors who sup­port the event and can help with eas­ing any costs like a por­taloo or print­ing flyers.

For me it’s miss­ing a 4×4 spon­sor so if any­one from Lan­drover is read­ing this, it would be great to have an icon­ic farm machine like yours sup­port­ing the events. 

There are lots of folk usu­al­ly will­ing to come and help out so ask your vet, your trac­tor deal­er, your Lan­dover deal­er, your feed mer­chant, your agron­o­mist or the local Young Farm­ers Club. 

Open Farm Sun­day is eas­i­ly the best day we have on our farm. Your vis­i­tors come because they are inter­est­ed in what goes on and by the end of the day you’ll feel like a food-pro­duc­ing celebri­ty and def­i­nite­ly some love from folk for the work you do. 

As farm­ers we need to recon­nect the pub­lic with their food, help them under­stand what we do and to real­ly val­ue it. I would urge oth­er farm­ers to get involved, not only because it’s a great day but also because it’s an oppor­tu­ni­ty to reach more peo­ple with our bril­liant farm­ing story. 

If we can get more farms open­ing in York­shire this June, it also gives the pub­lic the chance to vis­it more than one farm in a day. 

If you’re not sure about being a host your­self, go along to your near­est farm and help out. We are always grate­ful for the help at ours. 

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