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Wild Dorset

TALKING ‘TIL THE COWS COME HOME Leila Simon, Tamarisk Farm

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ne of the things we feel strongly about is showing how we farm and why we believe in farming the way we do. We want people to understand how their food is produced. We want them to feel happy about it, and to use their buying power to encourage methods they approve of. It’s been said we actually get three votes a day on how the world around us looks and works: they’re called breakfast, lunch and dinner! We are at this the whole time: someone may come to the shop in the hope of finding an ice cream and we explain that we sell only what we grow and that perhaps some tomatoes would be equally refreshing; someone else may come wondering about whether to buy meat or peas and we talk about the rights and wrongs of different diets and the ways in which we grow and rear food. As salespeople we aren’t going to win any awards, but we believe in what we do, and people like to talk about the whys and hows of farming. Because we like to engage people in what we do, we lead farm walks on and off throughout the year, each focusing on an individual aspect of our farm with perhaps the most popular being our wild-flower walk at Cogden in June. But in the summer we have our Open Day, a full day during which we show and talk about everything. Part public exhibition, with visitors from all over Dorset, and part party where we sit on the lawn and drink tea with familiar customers and friends. These past few years we have added a discussion topic over lunch as food for thought. Planning for the event starts vaguely in January, when we discuss the events for the year. It usually goes 42 | Bridport Times | August 2019

something like this: ‘Shall we really do an Open Day again this year?’ ‘It went well last year’ ‘It’s quite a lot of work’ ‘… but people like it, and we like it, too’ So into the diary it goes: August Bank Holiday Sunday. Come mid-June, it’s on our mind again. Time to start the ball rolling with posters and planning. Who from the farm will be around that day, what needs to be done in advance, and other little details. During the week before, we’re mowing the lawn; we’re using every spare hand putting up the marquee, which can be tricky in the wind; we’re gathering chairs and tables; we’re discussing the route for this year’s walks and planning the bread to bake for tasters and what simple fare we can offer for lunch. We are also milling flour, hulling barley, packing peas, filling the shop displays of yarn and sheepskins, all because this is also an opportunity to make available what we sell. By now we should have learnt that worrying about the weather is a waste of time, but for this we have conflicting wishes. If it rains will anyone come? If it’s windy, will our marquee blow away? And most importantly, if it’s sunny… will we have to be out harvesting on the same day? In the many years of running the open day, we always have contingency plans organised in case an urgent farm job arises. We know who will take on the job, and who will take over the walk or talk that person was going to lead. The plan has usually involved me, with less

Profile for Sherborne & Bridport Times

Bridport Times August Edition 2019  

Featuring Bridport Community Cooking Kit + What's On, Arts & Culture, History, Wild Dorset, Outdoors, Archaeology, Food & Drink, Body & Mind...

Bridport Times August Edition 2019  

Featuring Bridport Community Cooking Kit + What's On, Arts & Culture, History, Wild Dorset, Outdoors, Archaeology, Food & Drink, Body & Mind...