It was the last day of term for the Landbased Diploma students today – 5th April – and for the last 3 week they have immersed themselves in lambing at Hill Farm, run by Roly & Camilla Puzey. They have been given the opportunity through the Earth Trusts farm start programme. Roly has been such a great advocate of sharing the beauties of farming with a wider audience since his days at LEAF. this has very much continued at Hill Farm.
Our students have immersed themselves in lambing – not just the glamorous jobs of helping give birth, but the less exciting but equally vital jobs of sweeping up, bedding down, cleaning out pens and moving ewes and lambs.
To complete the term, which was all based on animal production and the linkages with food production, we visted a local butcher – Gary Smith Butchers, in Wallingford.
Here Terry cut up one of the lambs and showed the students how it was done and why it was so important to handle the lambs carefully during the grading process. We’d actually been grading lambs the week before at Roly’s farm, but unfortunately we weren’t able to see Roly’s lambs. An added bonus to the visit for the Diploma Students was the opportunity to progress – Scott, terry’s apprentice had previously done a Countryside Stewardship course at Northmoor Trust and had progressed to butchery and is currently studying an NVQ in butchery.
Finally we thought it would be a good idea to round the day off with a trip to the local Waitrose store to compare prices of the 3 suppliers – Roly, Gary Smith Butchers and Waitrose. The most noticeable, and not surprisingly was the availability of New Zealand lamb in Waitrose over local lamb. Pricewise there wasn’t much to choose between them all, which was slightly surprisingly, but the general feeling was that supporting local producers was a good thing to do.
Overall a great last day before half term and the review of lambing and the production process is high on the agenda for the first day back on the 26th may.