Local farms to open their gates for annual event

Farmers who are hosting visitors to the farms for this year's Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend taking part in a training day for the event, at Greenmount Agricultural College. Pic Cliff Donaldson

Farmers who are hosting visitors to the farms for this year's Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend taking part in a training day for the event, at Greenmount Agricultural College. Pic Cliff Donaldson

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Two more local farms have signed up to participate in the Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend 2016.

Rathmourne Farm in Rathfriland and Acton House Farm in Poyntzpass are among 23 farms that will take part in the event which will run from Saturday 18 and Sunday, June 19.

The event, now in its fifth year, will coincide with the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016 which is being co-ordinated by Tourism NI, supported by Food NI.

Previous hosts Harry McGaffin of Blackberry Hill Farm outside Gilford and William Bingham of Rathmourne Pig Farm near Ballyroney will join new host Donagh Cottage Farm run by the Matthews family in Donacloney.

The Ulster Farmers’ Union led initiative, principally supported by the Bank of Ireland, has been running since 2012 and has attracted almost 60,000 people throughout that time.

Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend Chairman and UFU President Barclay Bell said, “Given the difficulties the farming industry is currently experiencing, we are pleased that so many farms are willing to get behind Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend 2016.

“To help celebrate our fifth event and the Year of Food and Drink, we will have tastings and/or cookery demonstrations on all farms helping to deliver the farm to fork message to the public.”

Schools are invited to visit farms by arrangement on Friday June 17. Teachers can view their newest farms on the website and contact the farmers directly to plan their trip.

For more information, visit the new website www.openfarmweekend.com