Yesterday was Open Farm Sunday. This is an annual event, organised by LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) and the idea is to provide everyone with a chance to visit a working farm and ‘discover at first hand what it means to be a farmer and the fabulous work they do producing our food and managing the countryside’.
We had quite a few different events to choose from in Cambridgeshire, but we decided to visit G’s Farm at Barway, just outside Ely. This is a vast farming business, which grows a huge array of crops – most notably lettuces, celery, radishes and onions. Where we live, in the Fens, is a hugely rich agricultural area – the soil is so good, practically anything can grow. This is the heartland of large, industrial farms which giant machines and total efficiency. Maybe not the most appealing, or picturesque, side of farming, but it was fascinating to peek inside this world for a day and we were all struck by the passion and enthusiasm of the people that work there.
The main draw for the children was the huge field full of giant farm machines. Visitors were allowed to climb inside the tractors and everyone was very relaxed. The boys were thrilled to sit in a few – especially as this isn’t usually allowed at lots of events we go to! We nearly got lost in the giant iceburg lettuce processing plant on wheels – who knew such things existed?
The highlight of the day for all of us was the tour of the farm – via a tractor and trailer. We had to queue for a while, but it was definitely worth it. It was surprisingly fascinating and I leant a lot about celery and lettuce! This farm supplies Tesco with all of their British celery, and huge quantities of radishes, beetroot, asparagus and lettuce are grown every year – plus, all the other crops like wheat and rye. I was really staggered by the scale of it all. Most of the food I buy comes from supermarkets – and a good deal of it clearly comes from this huge operation.
What really struck me was the passion and knowledge of the people that work this land. Yes, it is a huge efficient machine of production, but there was also a commitment to sustainability and maintaining habitats rich in wild life throughout the farm.
All in all it was a great day, and we’ll definitely be back next year!