Ive been asked to give a plug to this weekends Open Farm Sunday (on June 9), organised by LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) and I am more than happy to do so. Its a great chance to see for yourself how our food is grown and produced, to talk to the farmers who produce it and have a fantastic day out too!
Hundreds of farms across the country are offering the opportunity to come and discover the story behind your food and get a fascinating insight into aspects of the countryside that you wouldnt normally see:
- Take a guided walk around a farm and hear at first hand how farmers manage valuable resources like water and energy
- Learn why worms are a cereal farmers best friend and how bees and other insects can help our vegetable crops grow
- See what lives in the miles and miles of hedgerows farmers plant and care for and understand why the quality of grass matters to livestock farmers
- Be amazed too, at the level of technology there is on many farms starting with the many gadgets in an average tractor!
Every Open Farm Sunday event is different, with a range of activities including farm tours, nature walks, milking demonstrations, sheep shearing and tractor and trailer rides. Plus theres the chance to get close to some of the incredible machinery that is used on a modern farm. Meet not only the farmer but some of the many other skilled individuals a farmer works with every day, such as vets and agronomists (plant doctors).
In the meantime, to whet your appetitites, Ive re-created one of Open Farm Sundays recipes, courtesy of Asda (with a little modification), using British produce¦Chicken & Summer Vegetable Traybake with Apricot Jam and Balsamic Vinegar
2tbsp balsamic vinegar
3tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp apricot jam
500g skinless, boneless chicken thighs
600g baby new potatoes, halved or quartered, depending on their size
1 large courgette, thickly sliced
1 green peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks
1 red onion, cut into 8 wedges
1-2 sweetcorn cobs, cut into quarters
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6. Mix the balsamic vinegar with 1tbsp oil and the apricot jam in a large freezer bag. Make cuts in the fleshy parts of the drumsticks, then put in the bag with the marinade. Turn to coat. Leave for 10 minutes.
2. Put the potatoes in a pan of cold water, cover and bring to the boil. Simmer for 8 minutes, then drain.
3. Transfer the chicken to a roasting tin.
4. Put the drained potatoes, courgettes, peppers, onion and sweetcorn in a bowl and toss them in the rest of the oil until completely coated.
5. Add to the chicken and bake for 35-40 minutes until the chicken is sticky and cooked through.
¢ To find a farm to visit near you visit www.farmsunday.org. You can use the icons on the website to help you locate a farm that is of most interest and to see what they have organised for visitors. From dairy to cereal crops, vegetables to beef, and poultry to pigs, farms of all types and sizes are opening on the 9th June to tell the story behind our food and so much more.