Open Farm celebrations

Open Farm Weekend reception at Greenmount. Guests attending the reception. Picture: Cliff Donaldson
Open Farm Weekend reception at Greenmount. Guests attending the reception. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

Hillstown Farm Shop joined fellow farmers and organisers to celebrate the success of this year’s Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend.

The Glebe Road farm was one of 21 farms across Northern Ireland who opened their doors to the public earlier this year.

This year’s events attracted over 21,000 people to family farms over two days in June.

This week an event was held at CAFRE’s Greenmount Campus to thank the 21 farmers and their families who opened their farms to the public.

The social event included a barbecue of local food supplied by Tesco as well as a prize-giving ceremony for all participants.

The Open Farm Weekend initiative was launched by the Ulster Farmers’ Union in 2012 to allow people to visit farms to see for themselves the reality of agricultural life and to meet the people who work tirelessly behind the scenes to produce the products that appear on our supermarket shelves.

UFU deputy president, Barclay Bell, said: “Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend continues to grow year on year and its continued success has to be attributed to those farmers who willingly give of their time to welcome the public onto their farms and indeed into their homes.

“Without their continued support this project would not be possible, I feel it’s important to say ‘thank you’ for all the hard work they put in to showcasing Northern Ireland’s first class farming industry.”

Mr Bell also thanked Bank of Ireland UK for their commitment to the agri-food industry through their sponsorship of the project.

The event was also sponsored by ASDA, NFU Mutual, the Prince’s Countryside Fund, Tesco and the UFU.

William Thompson, Head of Agri for sponsor Bank of Ireland UK, added: “As main sponsor we are delighted with the overwhelming success of the event and recognise the voluntary efforts of all the farmers and supporters which make it possible.

“This event has grown in popularity each year and has established itself as one of the primary events in Northern Ireland’s agri food calendar. We look forward to engaging with the organising committee in the coming weeks to plan ahead for next year’s event in what will be an exciting year of food for Northern Ireland.”

The Ulster Farmers’ Union are keen to hear from farmers who might be interested in taking part in next year’s event and interested parties can email or call 02890370222.