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    Listen: Alumnus talks to BBC about his pumpkin patch dairy diversification project

    23 April 2024

    The story of how a Harper Adams alumnus helped diversify his family dairy farm by turning a wheat field into a pumpkin patch has featured on BBC Radio Four’s Farming Today.

     BSc (Hons) Agriculture graduate Ed Hayman completed his studies at the University last September, and upon returning to his family farm at Gittisham, near Honiton in Devon, decided to try the new venture in the run-up to Halloween last year.

    It was a great success – so much so that it drew the attention of the BBC’s Fiona Clampin who went to talk to Ed.


    Showing her the field, he said: “We had 5,000 plants, roughly, that we grew here: all sorts of different varieties, we had anything from tiny little gourds right up to massive 20-30 kilo pumpkins that people could barely lift up.

    “So people would come and pick their own, we had wheelbarrows on site, and they could fill the wheelbarrow if they wanted to or just come and pick a few, we had refreshments up at the top.”

    Ed explained that the idea for the patch came from both seeing similar patches on social media and from a pumpkin patch he had seen while working in Lincolnshire on placement.

    He said: “I could see how successful it had been there in such a short space of time so I thought it was something I could come back from University and start doing quite quickly.”

    Ed explained about how he had set up social media accounts to promote his new venture – and found he was able to use them and the pumpkin patch to spark new discussions about modern dairy farming.

    A young man- Ed Hayman - with calves on some hay.

     Ed added that he was able to – eventually – persuade his parents the patch was a good idea.

    He said: “They thought I was a bit crazy to start with.They thought why on earth do I want to grow that many pumpkins, and who’s going to come at Halloween, in a muddy field in rainy October and stand out and pick a load?

    “But I think when they saw it up and running, they were quite impressed with how it all went -even just sacrificing the acre of wheat that we would have been growing, which Dad would have questioned at the start, he didn’t mind by the end!”

    You can listen again to Ed’s interview on Farming Today here, and follow his farm on Instagram below.

    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by Gittisham Farm Pumpkins (@gittisham_farm)


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