David Coburn prepared to welcome up to 300 visitors to Coburn Farms for Atlantic Open Farm Day activities on Sunday.
“This is one of my favourite days of the year,” said Coburn, part-owner of the business in Keswick Ridge, N.B.
The event happens each year in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and P.E.I.
Festivities started in the farm museum, where visitors could learn about the 215-year history of the farm as well as some old farming techniques.
The apple cider plant and the feed mill were also part of the tour.
“The more people we can engage in agriculture, the better,” said Coburn.
He said events like Atlantic Open Farm Day allow farmers to show people the complexities of agriculture and the challenges farmers face, which include increasing expenses.
Carol Muncer, garden director for Hayes Teaching Farm in Fredericton, said they are also participating in farm day for the fifth year in a row.
Hayes Farm joined in with cooking demonstrations and classes on how to make rope out of milkweed and how to preserve vegetables and fruit for the fall.
Andrea Duval visited both locations. She said people at the farms were helpful in answering all of her questions.
She said getting to visit local farms for the day helped her realize how much goes into the operations.
“I’ve only been here for a couple of years,” said Duval. “So it’s getting to know more about what’s going on around here in Fredericton and New Brunswick.”
The ‘magic’ of farming
Muncer said people have lost the ability to feed themselves, but that growing at home in the backyard is “fairly simple.”
“It’s really important that we know how to learn how to feed ourselves and get back to those basic ways of living off the ground and taking care of the world around us,” said Muncer.
Coburn said there is a lot to learn when it comes to growing crops and he has learned a lot from his mistakes. But he said budding farmers need to be prepared to make mistakes in order to see “the magic.”
“The magic of starting a seed in the greenhouse in the springtime and … seeing it grow and produce … is something pretty special,” said Coburn.
Seeing the kids
Coburn said farm day is an opportunity for people to ask questions about food production. But his favourite part of the day is spending time with people.
He said there are often a lot of kids that will come out and enjoy the fresh apples and cider.
Muncer said Hayes Teaching Farm has open farm days each month. During the summer, they also had weekly workshops and activities.
She said the rain held some people off from coming out to Atlantic Open Farm Day, but that there was a nice stream of visitors.