Open Farm Sunday

Duncan Farrington
Duncan Farrington

I did a turn for my favourite local farmer yesterday on Open Farm Sunday.

Duncan Farrington, of the delicious Mellow Yellow rapeseed oil (and the even more delicious Mellow Yellow garlic mayonnaise) had an event just down the road.  I spent the day, in the sunshine, talking to people about birds, as I have done a few surveys of Duncan’s farm over the years.

SAM_0174_EditedIt was a bit of a rush to get there on time, as although Bottom Farm is only five minutes drive away I did the second visit to one of my BBS squares first.

Lots of people, local people, wanted to talk about Red Kites, and all, with only one exception, were very enthusiastic about them, loved seeing them, and wanted to know a little more about them.  The exception was a farm worker who thought there were too many of them these days.

I talked about Turtle Doves too, as there had been a pair of Turtle Doves on Duncan’s farm the first year I had visited it (c10 years ago?) but searches last year, and this year, have failed to locate the bird through its ‘turrrrrr-turrrrr’ song.  Duncan’s farm gets a mention in both Fighting for Birds and A Message from Martha by the way.

On a couple of recent visits to listen for Turtle Doves I have seen Linnets, Yellow Wagtails, lots of Yellowhammers and a range of other farmland birds on the farm – it’s rather better for all of them than my BBS square only a very few miles distant. And it’s one of the many places I have heard Cuckoo this year.

Duncan is a LEAF farmer – not a perfect system but a group of farmers who are doing their bit for wildlife, sustainability and the environment at a noticeably higher level than the general crowd of farmers.  That’s why Duncan gets my support.

Why don’t you try some of his Mellow Yellow garlic mayonnaise – it really is delicious!

And I met some nice people from Syngenta, Aga and Brown Bear Marketing – all of whom expect a mention in this blog and I know will be looking out for it!



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6 Replies to “Open Farm Sunday”

    This is a great one to sign.

  2. Mark, thank-you for your support yesterday in helping make our Open Farm Sunday event a great success with over 500 people coming to learn about food, farming and wildlife. I had many lovely comments from newly informed visitors.

    I'm intrigued to know if you think there is a perfect farming system if LEAF is not it? In my mind I think LEAF is a pretty good start at encouraging realistic attitudes and answers to balancing healthy food, healthy wildlife and genuine sustainability.

    Thanks again as always.

    1. Duncan - I guess LEAF with the equivalent of HLS prescriptions thrown in would be closer to a perfect farming system in my eyes - but it's a good challenge. In reality I suspect the perfect farming system would differ for each farm? I would be prepared to see nature continue to be written off (as it has been) on some farms (definitely not yours) if there were more investment in keeping it in others, perhaps.

      Thanks for a lovely day on Sunday. You and your team put a lot of effort into making it a success.

  3. Mark, I was delighted that you think LEAF farming combined with say HLS is potentially a perfect farming system. Whilst we are only ELS (because going to the extra HLS effort was going to be difficult after all the trees and hedge we've planted over the last thirty years), I would have to agree with you. LEAF gives farmers the tools to help them farm in the right way, whilst LEAF farmers tend to be the ones who are intregued and keen to go the extra mile in how they approach their business, such as ELS and HLS for example.

    By the way, I have just seen a pair of Turtle Doves feeding on the waste seed heap around the farm. Proof that we are still attracting the right sort of birds - I even checked in my bird book to make sure they were what I thought - and they are.

    1. Duncan - that's fantastic. You're a better birder than I am. I'll come and have another look soon.


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