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Harper Adams hosts first Open Farm Sunday

Posted 23 May 2013

This is the first time that Harper Adams University has hosted Open Farm Sunday and we are very pleased that this coincides with our Farmers’ Market.

Natalie Saxton is seen preparing for the Open Farm Sunday and Farmers' Market

The working farm at Harper Adams University will open its gates to the public next month as part of the eighth annual Open Farm Sunday.

The national event, organised by Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF), showcases British farming and gives people the opportunity to see how food is grown and produced.

The farm at the university is one of hundreds across the country that will welcome visitors on June 9 giving them the chance to discover the story behind their food and see parts of the countryside normally off limits.

Visitors will be able to take tractor-trailer tours of the farm as part of the initiative. There will be farm-related talks and activities taking place on campus which will be suitable for younger children.

The university will also be bursting with fresh produce and locally produced goods as it stages its Summer Farmers’ Market on the same day.

Around 50 stalls will be showcasing their products at the event including The Jammy Cow, CurryboxUK, Vintage Thyme, Muckleton Meats, The Fudge Factory, Craft Nutter, A Farmer’s Daughter, Really Porky Pies, Coopers Gourmet Sausage Rolls and many more. There will also be face painting for youngsters.

Dr David Llewellyn, Vice-Chancellor of the university, said: “This is the first time that Harper Adams University has hosted Open Farm Sunday and we are very pleased that this coincides with our Farmers’ Market.

“We are offering tractor-trailer tour rides and farm-related activities and very much look forward to welcoming you to Harper Adams on June 9.”

Natalie Saxton, Technical Assistant at the university’s Regional Food Academy, who is organising the Farmers’ Market, said: “Our Farmers’ Market has become very popular with over 1,000 people usually attending, however, we are expecting even more this time as it is being run alongside the Open Farm Sunday event.

“We will have a wide range of stalls offering something different from artisan cheese, breads, baked goods, preserves, cakes, a pop-up tea shop, fresh produce, curry spices, hot food and street food, including vegetarian options, as well as plenty of craft stalls selling their own handmade products from jewellery to woodwork, so there will be an interesting and diverse mix of goods to buy.”

A Farmers’ Market raffle will be held on the day with proceeds going to Shrewsbury Music Therapy Unit and Trust Fund and the NSPCC Committee Shrewsbury. The raffle stall will be run by Hilbrae Kennels – Pets Hotel and Rescue, which will also take some of the proceeds.

The Open Farm Sunday and Farmers’ Market will run from 10am to 2pm and there is free parking for all visitors. Anyone interested in applying for a stall at the Farmers’ Market should contact Natalie on (01952) 815037.

Open Farm Sunday was first introduced in the UK in 2006 by Hertfordshire LEAF Demonstration Farmer, Ian Pigott. The first year was intended to be a pilot run of the project but interest was high and more than 300 farms opened their gates to the public.

Over the years, Open Farm Sunday has gone from strength to strength. Following the seventh event last year, nearly one million people have visited a farm as a result of the initiative.

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