Open farm day at Castleton

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Castleton Fruit Farm is preparing to open its gates on Sunday, June 7 as part of Open Farm Sunday; a Linking Environment And Farming (LEAF) initiative designed to reveal the sights and sounds of farms across the UK.

Castleton Fruit Farm which has been working with M&S for 10 years and supplies strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and cherries to M&S stores across the country, will open its gates at 10am and offer local people the opportunity to learn about how their food gets from field to plate in the educational tent.

Visitors are also invited to take part in a range of interactive activities including tractor and trailer rides and a tour of the farm, and see a collection of vintage and modern tractors and machinery. There will also be a bouncy castle and face painters on hand to entertain youngsters.

The free event, which takes place between 10am and 4pm, will be hosted by Castleton Fruit Farm farmer Ross Mitchell, and will also showcase the benefits of a rewarding career in farming and food production.

Ross Mitchell, 34, a second generation farmer and Managing Director at Castleton Fruit Farm, said: “We’re really looking forward to opening our gates for this year’s Open Farm Sunday event. It’s a great day out for the whole family and an opportunity for visitors to see first-hand the efforts that go into helping people eat their five a day.”

The Castleton Fruit Farm has 112 acres of strawberries, the equivalent of 56 football pitches, and provides M&S with 1.7 million punnets a year. It also supplies the retailer with 300,000 punnets of raspberries, 800,000 punnets of blueberries and 150,000 punnets of cherries.

In 2014, 4,500,000 punnets of fruit went through the farm’s packhouse, meaning it could put a punnet on each seat in Murrayfield Stadium nearly 67 times.