Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring Fun at Fordhall Farm!

Well, yesterday I spent the morning with Sian walking the cold streets of Market Drayton sharing Pork Pie samples from the Farm Shop and promoting our new Market Munch Meal.  
On a Wednesday, you can get 2 courses for only £9.95 – delicious, organic, local, seasonal, home cooked food for less than a tenner! Oh – it snowed a lot too and I was dressed as a cow!
So, now that I’m back in the office and my fingers have defrosted a bit we thought it was time to tell you what you can get up to at Fordhall Farm this spring…

We are open all over the Easter Weekend, including Easter Monday.  There will be self-led activities available to pick up from the tea-room, including a Spring Treasure Hunt, Orienteering maps, sticky bookmarks and woodland ropes to climb through on the farm trail.
The Great Egg Roll of 2012
On Saturday 6th April, our annual fundraising Barn Dance and Hog Roast will be held at 7pm. We have the brilliant folk group The Boat Band (with dance caller) to lead the proceedings. Whether you are a first time Barn Dancer or a seasoned veteran, everyone is welcome! It is always a good laugh and the Hog Roast is mouth wateringly delicious…! 7pm-11pm, £10 adult, £5 child

The very next day, we have our Spring Celebration and Lambing Day. This is a great opportunity for you to come and see our lovely lambs up close and peek in at the chicks keeping warm in their incubator.  You can have a go at powering an air pumped canon using only your body, have your photo taken with a bird of prey, have a go at May Pole dancing and enjoy the wonderful mime performances of Kaleidoscope Theatre.  You can scramble through a hay bale tunnel, help look after the birds this spring by making bird feeders and you can even get your face painted…phew – and if that’s not enough, there will also be a variety of lovely, local producers selling their wares and a Fordhall Farm BBQ. 10am-4pm, £1 adult, 50p children
In the week after the events, we will be holding our annual Egg-Stravaganza!  On Thursday 11th April, children (with an accompanying adult) can come and decorate an egg, take part in the Great Fordhall Egg Rolling competition, go on a mini-egg hunt and if they are very good…and quiet, they can even go and visit the lambs. 10am-12pm, £5 per child (with accompanying adult).

On Saturday 13th April, we will be running a Family Woodland Day with Julie Edwards. See who can build the biggest den? Play woodland games, get creative with woodland materials and enjoy a woodland snack by the campfire! 10am-2pm, £10 per person (£35 for family of 4) Suitable for ages 4+

So – there is A LOT going on! If you want to take part in any of the above events or courses, please give us a call or pop into the tearoom to book your place 01630 638696

Meanwhile, Happy Easter…don’t eat too much chocolate!

Becca x
(photo taken from

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

The Minister for DEFRA visits our organic farm

Minister for DEFRA Owen Paterson and Fordhall Board Members

Shropshire’s MP, Owen Paterson, in his new role as the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, visited Fordhall Farm last Friday.

As our local MP and with his new role, we had to invite him to Fordhall. We wanted him to see what has been achieved after so many lovely people across the country decided they wanted to support British and organic farming. We wanted to show him the benefits of community owned farms and perhaps provide him with some new and innovative ways forward for the industry.
His visit had been in the diary for some months, and when the horse meat scandal hit the headlines in February, the timing just got better.
We were really pleased Mr Paterson found time to visit Fordhall, having suddenly found himself very busy recently.... We were keen to show him how the concept community ownership has allowed Ben to continue farming on land he would not otherwise have afforded, whilst simultaneously providing a valuable resource for the local and wider community. We also took the opportunity to demonstrate the local food chains at Fordhall and the positive influence the horse meat scandal has had on business.

At the recent NFU conference the Owen Paterson said “To be the lead innovators and increase our competitiveness globally, we need highly skilled, entrepreneurial and ambitious people working in our farming and food sectors. I welcome the industry’s lead in promoting itself to young people and supporting new entrants, with a number of initiatives already underway.”

The visit on Friday gave Owen Paterson the opportunity to see the community farm in action. Whilst here he visited a group from Market Drayton Infant School who had walked from the town to visit us. They took great delight  in telling Mr Paterson what they had learnt about the farm, including where sausages come from and how to do a worm dance!

We then took a short tour of the farm, explaining our Foggage farming system, which allows the livestock to remain on the pasture year round, before returning to our sustainably renovated Old Dairy for a tour of our classrooms and a demonstration of the natural materials we have used, the butchery and then the tearoom for a Fordhall ploughman's lunch.

Demonstrating the sustainable building techniques we have used at Fordhall
Owen Paterson said “Ben and Charlotte Hollins have demonstrated a clear determination to remain in farming. I salute their enterprise and commitment “

There is no horse meat in the
Fordhall butchery!
Ben was pleased that the Minister was also interested in the supply chain on the farm, which goes from here to an abattoir in Stoke and then everything is back to the farm to be hung and butchered, and then sold direct to the public. Not only do we sell everything direct, without horsemeat in sight, but we also employ over 20 people on the farm, something that not the average 140acre would find possible and something which did seem to tick an important box with the Minister.

After visiting the farm Owen Paterson said “the transformation at Fordhall over the last 7 years is extremely impressive. The environmentally friendly buildings provide a real centre piece for the farm.”