Stirley Open Day – 10 favourite things

1. People in a field
It was a simple yet strangely powerful thing to watch people walking across the fields of Stirley Farm. Lots and lots of people (we think over 400 came along). Waves of interested faces drifted in throughout the afternoon. And it was a great pleasure to see so many people sticking around to hear about the future of the farm.

2. Our basket of beans
This lovely basket on our Growing Newsome stall was made by Cherry’s daughter. We filled it with runner beans from our community allotment, then quickly emptied it again as people took away handfuls of beans for their tea. A small boy took one bean and a recipe card.

3. Little drawings –
big vision

These drawings from local children were entries into a competition on the day. Everyone had the chance to show what they imagine the farm might look like in the future. These little pictures are a big statement – they show that we all have something to contribute.

4. Jam
We’ve become a bit obsessed with jam-making lately. Between us we’ve made everything from courgette jam to pickled beetroot. It was great to see our local produce so enthusiastically received on the day. Our special thanks to Mrs Hill, who brought us the crab apples for the apple jelly.

5. Sweet (pea) smells
Laura brought sweet peas from her garden to give out on the Hillside Primary stall. There was quickly a queue of people waiting to collect some flowers, because they smelled wonderful.
I was also pleased to grab another jar of Laura’s rhubarb syrup (which goes well with yoghurt).

6. Giving away a marrow
I was thoroughly delighted to be asked “can I buy your marrow?” It was given a good home by a couple who receive our Growing Newsome newsletters in the post (the latest of which featured a big marrow on the front page). And the marrows on our allotment are still going strong…

7. A spot of foraging
David, never one to see good fruit go to waste, spotted some nice blackberries in the field behind us and was quickly off foraging. If you picked up some blackberries from our stall on the day, we can guarantee that they were extra fresh.

8. Guess the veg
“What’s that then?” was the most common response to our yellow cylindra beetroot. Courtesy of Pat and her amazing garden, we also had some kohl rabi, yellow courgettes and sweetcorn – plus a few borlotto firetongue dwarf french beans, and the first of our tomatoes from the allotment.

9. My Mum…
I think a gold star should go to my mum, who spent her birthday sorting out the furniture for the Open Day, giving out baskets full of crab apples and potatoes (plus a selection of fruit and plants), not to mention encouraging people to try the courgette jam. That’s dedication for you.

10. Joan winning the hamper
Joan won the raffle. Two and a half years ago, when we did the Newsome food survey, Joan’s was one of the doors I knocked on to ask about food growing.

Not that long ago really. But how far we’ve all come.

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