21 farms in NI open their gates to public

Illustrating the farm to fork message with Cookie the Jersey Cow and some Clandeboye Estate Yogurt are the sponsors of Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend. Pictured at Clandeboye Farm (one of this year's participating farms), are (L-R) Joe McDonald, Asda; Sheelagh Wynne, NFU Mutual Insurance; Steve Pollard from Business in the Community NI representing The Prince's Countryside Fund; Cookie the Clandeboye Jersey Cow and Barclay Bell, UFU with Caoimhe Mannion from Tesco and William Thompson, Bank of Ireland UK.
Illustrating the farm to fork message with Cookie the Jersey Cow and some Clandeboye Estate Yogurt are the sponsors of Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend. Pictured at Clandeboye Farm (one of this year's participating farms), are (L-R) Joe McDonald, Asda; Sheelagh Wynne, NFU Mutual Insurance; Steve Pollard from Business in the Community NI representing The Prince's Countryside Fund; Cookie the Clandeboye Jersey Cow and Barclay Bell, UFU with Caoimhe Mannion from Tesco and William Thompson, Bank of Ireland UK.
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Excitement is building for one of Northern Ireland’s most popular summer events as 21 real, working farms across Northern Ireland prepare to open their gates, fields and farmyards as part of Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend.

The initiative which takes place on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th June this year, saw almost 20,000 people attend a free farm event in 2014.

Now in its fourth year, event organisers are looking forward to another ‘bumper crop’ of farm visitors for the completely free, not-for-profit project which was created by the Ulster Farmers’ Union.

Farms will have a variety of activities from guided tours, quizzes and games for children, to milking and sheep shearing demonstrations and delicious local food to sample. While the event makes for an excellent fun day out for the whole family, the focus is really on educating the public on the realities of food production. As Barclay Bell, Deputy President of the Ulster Farmers’ Union, explained:

“A recent survey from the British Nutrition Foundation* has revealed that a quarter of 5-8 year olds in the UK believe that bread comes from animals and 17% think that fish fingers come from chicken! So it has never been more important to educate the next generation on the realities of food production. The event is a great day out but carries a serious message about food and farming and encourages respect for our local food producers.”

The full list of participating farms in Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend 2015 is: Longfield Farm, Eglinton; Broglasco Farm, Limavady; McIlroy’s Chickens, Coleraine; Buchanan Turkeys, Upperlands, Maghera; Vowgarve Farm, Ballymoney; Carnany Farm, Ballymoney; Broughgammon Farm, Ballycastle; Glenballyeamon Egg Farm, Cushendal; Glenarm Estate, Glenarm; Ballycoose Farm, Ballygally; Greenmount Hill Farm, Glenwherry, Ballymena; Hillstown Farm, Randalstown; Laurelview Farm, Templepatrick; Ballylagan Organic Farm, Ballyclare; Clandeboye Farm, Bangor; Acton House Farm, Poyntzpass; McClelland’s Farm at Clare Glen, Tandragee; Armagh Apple Farm, Portadown; Egerton Farm, Lisnavoe; Cavanagh Egg Farm, Newtownbutler; Tickety Moo Farm, Irvinestown

This year the popular UFU initiative will be working alongside the Armagh Show which takes place on the same weekend in June in Gosford Forest Park, near Markethill.

The range of activities on offer at each event will vary by farm, as will opening times, so please visit the website for full details of your nearest free farm event www.openfarmweekend.com.