Local farms open their doors

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Local farms are making their final preparations ahead of Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend 2018.

Running on Saturday June 16 and Sunday June 17, the popular initiative gives consumers and their families the opportunity to visit farms across Northern Ireland, for free.

Churchview Farm, run by star of the recent UTV Rare Breed series Geoffrey Ringland, is taking part for the first time. The goat farm is based at 17 Kilkinamurray Road, Ballyward, Co Down, BT31 9QR and will be open on Saturday June 16 from 11am to 6pm. Visitors will be able to meet the goats and view a display of tractors, machinery and lorries. There will also be special activities for children.

Bullsbrook Farm, run by Roy McMurray, will be open on Saturday 16 from 10am to 5pm and Sunday June 17 from 2pm to 5pm, at 26 Black Bog Road, Dromore, BT25 1EH. The farm has an agricultural mini museum featuring old horse and farming implements. Visitors are welcome to bring a picnic along and there will be bread making on an open fire in one of the restored farm buildings in the yard. The River Lagan runs through the farm and provides habitat for various wildlife and birds.

Blackberry Hill Farm is run by Harry McGaffin and is based on the Ballymacallen Road, Gilford, BT63 6AE and will be open on Saturday 16 and Sunday June 17 from 11am to 5pm daily. The farm has European Angus cattle and visitors will get the chance to see other animals including baby chicks and sheep. There will be a cookery demonstration by the Livestock and Meat Commission running both days. There will also be pony rides.

Families can plan journeys to all participating farms on the website www.openfarmweekend.com. Visitors are advised to wear sensible footwear and are welcome whatever the weather as the farms will be open come rain or shine. On each farm, there will be the opportunity to enter a free draw to win a food hamper filled with lots of local food produce, kindly provided by the Ulster Farmers’ Union.

Participating farms are also supporting the UFU Centenary Charity Appeal for Air Ambulance NI and special activities will take place on each farm to raise funds for the charity.