While the nation was busy brandishing its bunting and organising street parties left, right and centre, everyone at High Mead quietly got on with their day-to-day routine of tending the animals and making sure the plants were happy.
While there is no lack of staunch Monarchists among us, Bank Holidays mean very little to our Co-Farmers, so, as Queen and Country celebrated the Platinum Jubilee, the farm’s doors were open just as they are on any other day. The calm, tranquillity, and therapy the farm offers are needed by our Co-Farmers, as much – if not more – during these busy times.
Back in 2017, MIND (previously known as the National Association for Mental Health), which itself celebrated a 70th anniversary in 2016, reported that approximately one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year and, in England, one in six people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week. A recent survey among school-age children drew the same conclusion. Add to that the effects of Lockdown and the pressure of the dramatically increasing cost of living and those figures are probably even higher. So, while many of us did embrace the opportunity to throw ourselves into the festivities and reconnect with friends and neighbours that we haven’t seen for yonks, for some, the stress of socialising, with the associated emotion and excitement, took its toll. So, it was business as usual at the farm for those who love routine and the quiet, simple things in life. However, in case you are worried that meant some people missed out, for those that were up for it, there was an afternoon of fun to be had at a community picnic on the King George V Playing Fields in Ferndown, where Mark and the High Mead Farm team became stallholders for the day, displaying fresh farm-grown produce, eggs, and honey, as well as plants and local craft. Judging by their smiles, a super time was had by all. While the rain held off for the greater part of the day, a heavy downpour late afternoon was just what was needed at the farm. The combination of early summer sun and belated April showers has helped our horticultural team no end.
The first harvest of the year looks extremely promising, especially the big leafy lettuces and beautiful beetroot.
It is so satisfying for the Co-Farmers to finally start harvesting the fruits of their labours and to proudly display them in their very own farm shop.
We might not be able to boast 70 years of exemplary support of the Commonwealth, nor confidently lead a country through the decades, but our Co-Farmers can certainly grow a cracking carrot and their efforts are certainly to be applauded.