Keeping it cool during national ice-cream month

Bank of Ireland Virtual Farm Weekend is gearing up for this year’s event which is taking place on Friday 30 July to Sunday 1 August.

Monday, 5th July 2021, 7:57 am

Almost 30 farms are participating this year. They will be showcasing their unique family businesses and quality produce through online videos, social media content and throughout the live weekend, activities will be streamed on Open Farm Weekend’s social media channels.

All of Northern Ireland’s agri sectors are covered, with six dairy farms including Ranelly Farm in Omagh Co. Tyrone, taking part.

Ranelly Farm is owned by the Hawkes family who are the fourth generation to farm the land. The Hawkes family have been supplying their milk to Dale Farm (formerly known as United Dairy Farmers’) for more than 40 years. The 125 strong herd is made up of pedigree Holstein, Jersey and Shorthorn cows.

Graeme Hawkes, who manages the farm along with his dad Kenneth Hawkes said: “We operate a twice a day milking system. The herd produces an average of 1081481 litres. Each cow produces on average 9213 litres of milk with a butterfat of 4.42 and protein of 3.32 per year. We supply Dale Farm Co-op with our quality milk direct from the farm.

“The first year we opened for Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend was in 2019. This year, the event falls during national ice-cream month, which is July, so it ties in very well with the production side of milk and how versatile it is as a product.

“Whenever pupils and families could visit our farm pre COVID-19, we supplied Mullin’s ice-cream provided by Dale Farm. We loved seeing how much the children enjoyed it and explained how milk helped to make the ice-cream, more than likely, it would have come directly from our cows.

“Telling this ‘farm to fork’ story is one of the reasons why we participate in the initiative, creating an awareness of where our high quality produce comes from. We are looking forward to welcoming children in the future to keep communicating this important message.”

More information can be found at www.openfarmweekend.com.