This week we went to the latest Junior Farmers at Kenyon Hall Farm which is a pick your own fruit and vegetable farm local to us which has a lovely cafe and farm shop.
It wasn’t until we were there that I realised we had been attending their Junior Farmer sessions for a whole year. While we have missed a couple, we have more or less been to all of them.
From growing beans and planting pumpkins to farm rides and Christmas crafting, the children love going and I love taking them.
I can’t help thinking though that some people might be surprised that we enjoy it so much seeing as we already live on a farm.
I suppose a little of living and breathing farming applies. The children are obsessed and play farms, watch programmes about farms and regularly get excited when they see a farm vehicle when driving down the road.
One of the reasons I have encouraged them there is that we live on a livestock farm and Kenyon Hall Farm produce fruit, vegetables and arable crops so even I have learnt something whilst attending the sessions.
Even my children still need to be reminded that food is grown rather than bought from the shop so trips to places like this are so important in my opinion.
Not only that, the food that you see growing and that in the shop has dirt on it which I think helps children (and adults) to connect with their food more than if it was washed.
We planted green beans there this time last year and we enjoyed them all summer long. The children watched them grow and helped harvest them straight into the pan. You can’t get fresher than that or provenance. Those two tiny seeds lasted us at least three months and we can’t wait to do it all over again this year.
Likewise at a later session, we planted a sunflower seed which also gave us endless joy as we watched it grow and then die and wither. This is life and it is what all children should experience.
I also think by attending the sessions, it allows my children to see how lucky they are to grow up on a farm. For many of the other attendees, this is the closest thing they get to a farm whereas my three wear wellies and overalls more than they do shoes and clothes. It does them no harm at all to realise that they are fortunate to have so much space to run around in and tractors and animals at their finger tips.
Most farmers know one another in any local area and I naively thought we were incognito until I asked a daft question at one of the sessions and the lovely host Kathryn really laughed and announced to the group that I was a farmer’s wife and should know better. My identity was well and true rumbled. It was funny. In my defence, I was a townie before a farmer’s wife and I am still learning every day.
So a bus man’s holiday it may be but we won’t be stopping attending the Junior Farmer sessions any time soon and I have actually just booked myself on a forthcoming adult class on vegetable growing. I had better make sure I do my homework and don’t ask anything stupid-or wear a disguise.
Kenyon Hall Farm is a lovely place to visit at any time of the year. If you are not local to Cheshire, it would be worth having a look around to see if there is anything similar in your area.