Spring has officially sprung – the days are getting warmer, the flowers are blooming and baby animals are being born – and here at the Mercury we are relaunching our Food Glorious Food campaign for 2011.
Local food is a topic on the tip of many people’s tongues and our campaign will be celebrating the area’s growers and producers and highlighting green, ethical and quality food – which is produced right here in the Peaks and Dales.
To kick off the campaign Mercury reporter Julia Rodgerson and photographer Paul Robinson visited a new farm in Riber which is giving residents an opportunity to taste the best of all produce.
Garden Farm, at High Leas, is an organic farm rearing sheeps, cows, pigs and poultry.
Tim Sidaway, 44, and his wife Sarah Fowler, 41, took over the farm in January and hope to develop it as a community hub and host events over the year.
The couple specialise in rare and heritage breeds of livestock and sell produce direct to customers as much as possible.
Tim said: “This was always something we wanted to do. We have always had an interest in wildlife and food and we have a vision of what we wanted to achieve with local food.
“We want to show people that they can easily access local food and don’t just have to rely on big supermarkets.”
The farm also offers a Virtual Livestock Keeper Scheme for people who want to keep their own pigs and sheep but do not have the space. They pay a monthly fee for their animal to be looked after on the farm.
Tim is keen to ensure the Garden Farm is run ethically and the animals certainly seem to be leading happy lives.
Chickens roam freely across the 110 acres while Darcy the Berkshire boar and his fellow pigs recline in the sun.
This week saw the arrival of the farm’s first spring lambs and on April 10 a lambing day event will be taking place from 10.30am to 5pm.
Visitors can meet the lambs, chicks and piglets and discover how their food is reared.
The farm hosted an open day in February and despite it being a wet day around 50 people went along.
Tim said: “We wanted to introduce ourselves to the local families.
“Coming in as outsiders, everyone has been so welcoming and friendly and interested in what we are doing. People do care about where their food is coming from and what they are feeding their children. We hope people will get involved and come along to experience the farm.”