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East Anglian farmers share their stories with public on Open Farm Sunday

PUBLISHED: 09:43 08 June 2018 | UPDATED: 09:43 08 June 2018

John Smith with his champion Ayrshire, Peggy, at Suffolk Show 2018 Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

John Smith with his champion Ayrshire, Peggy, at Suffolk Show 2018 Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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East Anglian farmers will be among those sharing their stories at the weekend, as they open their gates for Open Farm Sunday, with more than quarter of a million people across the UK expected to go through the gates.

Farmer Stuart Scarff and son James Scarff at the family's new vineyard at Combs, Stowmarket Picture: STUART SCARFFFarmer Stuart Scarff and son James Scarff at the family's new vineyard at Combs, Stowmarket Picture: STUART SCARFF

Some farmers in Suffolk and Essex have signed up for the LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) campaign on June 10 for the first time this year, citing the need to educate the public about what they do.

Essex dairy farmer John Smith, of Wigboro Wick Farm, St Osyth, Clacton, said he was feeling “apprehensive but excited” to be hosting his first event.

“I’m taking part because I feel we have a duty to educate the public where their food comes from, with the recent backlash of negative publicity from the media portraying our farming practices in a false light,” he said. “I’ve been wanting to do it for a few years now, but with other commitments have not had the time to dedicate to the event, and decided this year to give it a go, and see the response. I don’t think there are many businesses that would just open their doors to the general public across all sectors, not just farming, and am looking forward to meeting people who have a general interest in where their dairy produce starts from.”

Over in Suffolk, the Scarff family has also decided to open up Cambas Vineyard and Fenn’s Farm, at Combs, Stowmarket, for the first time.

The Scarff family's new vineyard at Combs, Stowmarket Picture: STUART SCARFFThe Scarff family's new vineyard at Combs, Stowmarket Picture: STUART SCARFF

Farmer Jill Scarff said the farm, which grows combinable crops including wheat, oilseed rape, barley, peas and beans, would be showing visitors their newly-planted vineyard, with a total of 9ha planted out. “We are a family-run farm and have decided to take part in the Open Farm Sunday this year as we now have a vineyard and feel we need to promote farming and show the public how we operate,” she said.

Katharine Salisbury of Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses, near Stowmarket, has been participating in Open Farm Sunday since 2009. Back then, she and husband, Jason, had just moved their cows into a new milking parlour. “It was a hectic time, and we were overwhelmed with the response from the public. We feel it is such an important event as it gives people the opportunity to get onto a working farm, find out what really happens and learn more about where their food comes from.”

Visit www.farmsunday.org for details.

Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses, at Whitegate Farm, Norwich Road, Creeting St Mary, Suffolk, IP6 8PG, is taking part in Open Farm Sunday. Pictured are Katharine and Jason Salisbury.Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses, at Whitegate Farm, Norwich Road, Creeting St Mary, Suffolk, IP6 8PG, is taking part in Open Farm Sunday. Pictured are Katharine and Jason Salisbury.

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