Every Day is a School Day

It has been an even busier time than normal for us on the farm, not only the arrival of Hattie, but Fliss thought we would be bored while she is being mummy so she got busy booking all sorts of exciting things for us, I think to keep me out of trouble!

In June we had The Food for Life Partnership on the farm, with their amazing bus parked up and transformed into working and teaching kitchens. They held the Leicestershire Junior Master chef final as well as four days of training teachers from all over the county. As part of the training we took the participants on a farm tour as we would with a school visit, explaining all we do, such as feeding alpacas, planting seeds, milking a wooden cow and going on a tractor and trailer ride; we have never been sure if this is the children’s favourite part of their visit, but we now know it is the teachers, as they all asked for a ride around the farm on the trailer – to ‘learn’ more obviously!!

What a week, and great fun for us, being part of teaching about local produce and what can be made with fresh ingredients, one thing is for sure – we didn’t go hungry as the food that was coming off the bus was amazing, after all, we had to do our bit each day and help taste it!

We have had many schools around the farm this spring and summer, one coming from as far as the Vale of Belvoir. We have great fun teaching them all about local produce, what is grown on their doorstep and how they can keep it local. I am not sure who has more fun on these visits, we have been learning a lot from the school children and just as when I was at school when you ask their favourite part of the day the answer is always the same - Lunch!

With the purr of the combine, harvest is my favourite time of year, where all of our hard work comes together. Although we have to work some crazy hours, rely on the weather and often miss out on long lazy weekends in a beer garden, nothing beats closing the shed door behind the last load; seeing all the fruits of our labour before it gets shipped out or bagged up.

Although Hattie is still too young to operate a tractor, I know it won't be long before she is helping with harvest. Until then, we have another family member with us on the farm this summer, Fred - my cousin who has followed in my footsteps causing havoc at Harper Adams University, is here to help.

Being a student, Fred needs beer money for his final year and to get some experience on a combine harvester, and only family are crazy enough to offer that experience to a student!! With all that is going on this year, we thought what better way to allow me a bit of time at home than have Fred as my right-hand man this summer. He is already a hit on school visits and has even been seen helping with the washing up for the coffee shop, so fitting in perfectly on the farm!!

Have you seen the village scarecrow? Barkby village recently unveiled their commemorative Jubilee scarecrow, made from old farm machinery, it was designed and made by villager Chris Lowe and we think it looks amazing – it also gave us an idea for this year’s harvest festival competition .....

Not just harvest time – it is nearly Harvest Festival time (Saturday 26th September). Last years charity harvest festival was such a success raising over £2000 for LOROS, that we have decided to do it all over again. Instead of decorating a welly, this year we are running a scarecrow competition (after the village scarecrow), as well as all the fun of the farm, celebrating local food and music. There will be games to play, some delicious food to taste, you can meet Mr D (the Butcher) and Tim from The Melton Cheeseboard, learn how to make a fabulous floral display with Stuart from Shoots and much more. This year Roots have chosen to raise money for Alzheimer's research and hope everyone will have a lot of fun in the process of fundraising for a great cause.

As last year was so much fun – we thought why stop at a one day event, and that you can’t have a harvest festival without a harvest service – so by linking with RABI we will be hosting their Harvest Service on Sunday 27th September - what a weekend of fun and food filled splendor.

But, all this fun will have to wait for me until the land work is done. Anyway if I’m seen sitting too long I will be roped into making scarecrows!!

See you soon at Roots

George x

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