Perhaps the first thing you think of when the word farm is mentioned is – animals. However, not all farms have animals. An arable farm is where farmers plough the land, sow seeds and grow plants to harvest, such as potatoes, vegetables, wheat and barley.
This year, we have two potato farms opening their gates on Saturday 18th June. William Orr and Son Home Farm took part in Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend 2014 and we are delighted to welcome them back this summer. The Orr’s grow Comber Earlies, which were given PGI status in 2012. Visitors will get the chance to go around the potato fields and see the packaging process in action.
New host, Cochrane’s Potatoes, sell their produce direct to local supermarkets and also from their farm on the main Dungiven to Limavady road. The varieties grown on this farm include Kerr’s Pink and Queen’s.
Our third main arable farm taking part in Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend 2016 is C&L Mushrooms in Mayobridge. The farm, run by the Fegan family, has 17 tunnels growing white mushrooms since 1986. They recently installed biomass boilers to cut down on the farm’s carbon footprint.
As well as a beef herd, Acton House Farm grow winter oats which are sent to White’s in Tandragee and then made into porridge. The farm also grows winter wheat, winter oilseed rape and spring beans.
CAFRE Greenmount has an established reputation in horticulture education and has provided full-time courses since 1924. The campus is set in over 18 hectares of landscaped grounds originally laid out in the 19th century. Features include the Richardson’s Walled Garden which was redeveloped to celebrate the Millennium. It is of formal design with a grand conservatory, pleached limes, a maze, water feature, knot gardens and a wide range of mixed and herbaceous planting. Visitors during Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend will be given the opportunity to do some planting of their own! Visit them on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th June.
It is thanks to our arable farms that we can make these delicious recipes – why not give them a go this weekend!
Did you know?
Comber Earlies are now famous Europe wide having been granted an EU PGI status in 2012, which puts them in the same league as Feta cheese!
Only potatoes planted, grown and harvested within the protected geographical indicated area can be marketed as Comber Earlies, and only potatoes harvested in May, June and July are eligible for the status. There is no actual variety called Comber, the name refers to the general geographical area where the potatoes are grown.