Hotel owner to speak at Devon Farms open day
The 120 strong farm accommodation co-operative Devon Farms Accommodation will be holding its annual Open Day at Clyst St Mary village hall, near Exeter, on Wednesday, March 25, from 11am to 3pm.
The 120 strong farm accommodation co-operative Devon Farms Accommodation will be holding its annual Open Day at Clyst St Mary village hall, near Exeter, on Wednesday, March 25, from 11am to 3pm. The event will be hosted by the East Devon Farm Holiday group.The guest speaker will be Ken Hunt, proprietor of the award winning Combe House Hotel, Gittisham. The hotel is an enthusiastic support of Devon farmers, with local food always on the menu, contributing to Combe House achieving a coveted Michelin Rising Star award.2009 represents Devon Farms' 21st year of operating as a professional marketing cooperative. Throughout these years it has always been run by farmers, for farmers, and part of the day will be a celebration of this anniversary. The period has witnessed many changes for farms taking guests, as Angela Dallyn, chairman of Devon Farms, points out: "Income from visitors has gone from providing holiday money for the farming family to playing a major role in the financial sustainability of the farm business. We have through training and capital funding taken our members from black and white brochures to all singing, all dancing websites and e-mail systems. The standard of accommodation of our farms, both self catering and B&B, is second to none, with several boasting 5 star grading, and members have led the way in embracing green tourism, something not even on the horizon 21 years ago."To mark the 21st anniversary Devon Farms are introducing a special award to recognise individuals, often working quietly in the background, who have made a real contribution to the farm and rural tourism sector across Devon. The first of these will be presented at the Open Day.One very significant trend over the last 21 years has been a steady raising of the profile of local food and its relevance to a sustainable landscape. The East Devon group's theme for this year's Open Day is food, farming and landscape. The centre piece of the day's events will be a farmers' market of East Devon producers who will bring along their superb examples of locally produced food to sample and to buy. The group, one of six local groups that make up Devon Farms, is also celebrating its 25th anniversary by providing a free delicious lunch with a centre piece of a hog roast provided by member Janet East.After lunch a prize draw will feature many of the items on display in the hall, the main prize being a Sunday lunch for two at the Combe House Hotel kindly donated by Ken & Ruth Hunt.Anniversaries apart, the main purpose of the Devon Farm Open Day is to give farmers thinking of starting a farm holiday business, or those already running one but looking for better marketing opportunities, the chance to see what Devon Farms can do for them. Throughout the day members of the cooperative will be on hand to explain how Devon Farms works, and for potential members Lucy Hines, the New Members Secretary, will be there with specific details on membership.Everyone with an interest in farm tourism is welcome to what has become the only annual event specifically for the farm tourism sector in Devon.