Report on the Scottish Smallholder Festival 2018

Thanks for Andrew Charles for submitting this report from the Scottish Smallholder Festival which was held last weekend. If any members have other items suitable for inclusion on the website then please get in touch using the Submit News/Event page.

This years Festival took place at Forfar Mart, on Sunday 28th October and was well attended, and the main hall was full of craft and information stalls, and there was quite a large livestock display in the auction yard.

Being a 4 hour drive to get there we decided to stay overnight, which gave us time to call in on the new V&A building in Dundee. Very impressive and it makes a wonderful backdrop to the RRS Discovery on display in dry dock on the shores of the Tay estuary. But if you are planning a visit pre booking would be advisable – it was packed with no spare tables at the cafe and with queues into all the displays, some of which needed tickets – but just seeing the building both inside and out made the detour worthwhile.

The Festival had a full programme of talks, plus demonstrations and workshops (some of which needed booking). We attended a session on weed control without chemicals by the Soil Association (where I come from this is known as slave labour!) Then we had a go at wool spinning (oops not so good) fleece identification (quite easy if its still on the sheep) and willow weaving (not too bad for beginners) The full programme of talks and demos is on display on the Scottish Smallholder Festival  website, if you want an idea of what is available. Auction Marts aren’t very draught or sound proof structures, so warm clothes and good hearing are essential to get the most from the sessions.

We chatted with a lady at the prize egg table in the produce section and discovered that she had won first prize for her chicken egg – but she had no ides what the judges were looking for and she had just picked a good looking egg up that morning to bring with her – we’ll have a go at that next year!

The refreshments were supplied mainly by mobile food stalls, of good quality and the queues weren’t too long.

I shall be joining in the SRUC webinars aimed at small scale pig keepers, and I am looking forward to receiving more info on a solar powered water pump to assist with next years dry spells – courtesy of Scottish Water.

So if you fancy a day out and a chance to show off produce, livestock, or have a chat with local experts make a note in your diary – the 2019 festival is back at the Agricultural centre in Lanark, and the 2020 festival will be at the Forfar mart – both will be on the last Saturday in September

 

NPS Produce Show- 4 August 2018

As part of the barbecue, and to add a bit of fun, we will be holding our second NPS Produce Show on Saturday 4 August 2018.  The show and BBQ are only open to members of the North Pennines Smallholders.

The classes for the show are as follows:

Agricultural

  • Bag of hay made in 2018
  • A raw sheep’s fleece

Produce

  • Jar of jam or other sweet preserve
  • Jar of chutney
  • 4 hen’s eggs on a plate
  • 4 potatoes
  • 4 broadbeans
  • cucumber
  • 3 tomatoes
  • A group of 3 different vegetables
  • Vase of garden flowers

Industrial

  • Loaf of bread- any variety
  • 4 jam tarts
  • A bottle of home-produced liqueur

The winner is the holding with the most points and is awarded this year’s cup.

Please let the secretary, Alistair Stevens, know if you want to come to the BBQ and take part in the show. Alistair’s email is oakfieldhexham@hotmail.co.uk .

NPS Barbecue and Produce Show- Saturday 4 August 2018

The North Pennines Smallholders will be having their annual summer BBQ abd produce show on Saturday 4 August 2018 at Oakfield House in Hexhamshire, Northumberland.  It is a members only event and details have been emailed out.

In 2017 we held our first produce show which was surprisingly funny and very successful. The hosts of the evening, Maureen and Alistair Stevens, gathered the most points and were awarded the ‘specially designed’ cup which has been engraved with their names in readiness for this year’s competition.

Reminder – North Pennines Smallholders AGM 2017

Here’s a quick reminder about the North Pennines Smallholders AGM for 2017 which is happening on Wed 13 September.

This will be held at the Golden Lion, Allendale starting at 7.30 and nibbles will be available during the evening. As many of our members have hens we have asked Kate Jackson to talk about poultry keeping as part of the evenings events.

This is an ideal opportunity to find out more about the future plans for the North Pennines Smallholders group, contribute your ideas for future events and to connect with other smallholders, growers and landowners from around the North Pennines (and beyond).

However we do need to get some idea of how many people will be there on the day so that we can make all the relevant preparations! Just a quick email is all that is needed…

Click here to see the calendar entry.

Reminder – NPS barbecue, Sat 15 July

Just a final reminder that the annual North Pennines Smallholders barbecue is happening this weekend.

This is an ideal opportunity to find out more about the future plans for the North Pennines Smallholders group, contribute your ideas for future events and to connect with other smallholders, growers and landowners from around the North Pennines (and beyond).

However we do need to get some idea of how many people will be there on the day so that we can make all the relevant preparations! Just a quick email is all that is needed…

More details are available via the calendar entry for this event.

New events added to the calendar

Details have been finalised for some more events over the coming months so here is a brief summary. Full information for each event including contact details for reserving a place can be found on the specific calendar entry:

Beekeeping / Christmas Social – Thurs 15 Dec (evening)

Burns Night Supper – Weds 25 Jan 2017 (evening)

For planning purposes we always need to know the number of people that will be attending these events so please use the contact email shown against each event to reserve your place.

Reminder – Meadow Flowers course, Sat 25th June

There are still a few places left for the upcoming Meadow Flowers day course at Bowlees Visitor Centre. There have been a few emails sent out which mentioned the wrong date but this event is definitely taking place on SATURDAY 25th JUNE

This is a FREE event with all refreshments and lunch provided as well as equipment and guidebooks.

Take a look at the calendar entry for this event to see more details and reserve your place as soon as possible.

Reminder: NPS Open Meeting

Lapwing

Lapwing

Just a quick reminder about the North Pennines Smallholders – Open Meeting which will be held at The Golden Lion, Allendale early in May.

This will be a great opportunity for members to meet the committee, provide feedback on the progress so far and contribute ideas for the future development of the group.

It’s also an excellent way for potential members to learn more about the group and the benefits of membership as well.

Joining the North Pennines Smallholders is only £10 per holding for a year and you can bring along a completed membership form or even just fill one in on the night!

Take a look at the calendar entry for this event to see more details and be sure to reserve your place as soon as possible.

Do you want to take part in a TV documentary?

A television production company called Pi Productions, run by John Silver who created Grand Designs and reinvented MasterChef, are currently casting for a new prime-time documentary series following six ambitious people who are following their dreams and are uprooting to start a whole new life.

They are looking for families or couples who are planning to ditch the 9 to 5 to pursue a career in something they are passionate about. It could be running a pub, setting up a restaurant or their very own bakery, or it could be taking the reins of a smallholding. They want to showcase the amazing lifestyle business opportunities out there and show what it takes to make a new venture succeed.

With small businesses accounting for 99.3% of all private sector businesses and driving the UK economy it’s the right time to look at what it takes to leave everything you know behind, and start your own business.

Where should you move? How do you raise funds? How will your children handle it? Will it be worth it? They want to answer the questions that people all over the country ask themselves.

This is a brilliant opportunity for “life changers” to feature themselves and their new venture on a prime time documentary, and inspire other people in the process. They are keen to feature positive and aspirational stories.

Contact Katie McGhie at Pi Productions (katy.mcghie@piproductions.tv) for more information if you are interested in taking part