Fun Filled Concept
Pick your own farms used to be massive, and a great idea for a fun day out for all of the family. Especially during the summer months, when there would be a great feeling associated with wandering around a farm or an orchard picking your own fruit and vegetables to eat later. Part of the charm of these places was the sheer grandeur of them. The inspiration attached to gardening basics having been implemented and maintained over such a large scale was definitely something to behold.
For various reasons the popularity of pick your own farms tailed off somewhat towards the end of the 1990’s. A large part of this was down to the huge growth and market domination employed by the supermarkets. Despite the excellent work done turning gardening basics into a once thriving business, it simply was no longer cost effective to maintain such a large land space in light of shrinking customer numbers and general interest.
How The Supermarkets Muscled In
One of the biggest factors which put paid to pick your owns initially was the obsession with how produce looked. Supermarkets have conditioned consumers to choose the most aesthetically appealing products, even though everyone knows that a slightly ugly looking apple or banana can still give the same great, refreshing taste experience.
To this end, the novelty of picking your own fruit somewhat died down. Consumers would become increasingly frustrated at not being able to fill their bags with beautiful looking pieces of fruit, regardless that the taste would be much better given that it has been handpicked and probably grown organically.
Independents Fighting Back
As various television shows and news articles began to portray pick your owns, amongst farmers and other traders who are struggling, in a sympathetic light, these have begun to become more popular once again. It has to be said that these are simply not doing well just because people feel sorry for them. There is a wide body of opinion which is railing against the way supermarkets do business, as well as picking your own organic fruit and vegetables coming back into people’s routines once again.
Whether as a consequence of the recession or due to the behaviour of the supermarkets, people are once again flocking to pick your owns as they trust local produce and traders. In addition to this, they may even be inspired to take up a gardening basic of their own, perhaps even growing their own fruit in their garden.
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Shetland sheep, while traditional to the Shetland Islands, and bred all over Great Britain, have made their way across the pond to Canada and the United States. They are a favourite breed among sheep farmers, especially smallholders. These sheep are fine-boned, smaller than most breeds, and are known to be easy to manage.
Shetland wool is renowned for its variations in colour, from whites to browns, blacks and grays. Whilst it is easily dyed, the natural colours are beloved by hand-knitters and spinners. Hand-spinners love the texture and ease in the way the fibres are drawn. The fleece is layered with tight coils beneath longer fleece, so the variety in the fleece is unique in wool. This wool has a low itch factor, with only 20 to 30 microns and can be worn next to the skin. The fleece is generally clean when shorn as it has a low lanolin percentage.
Shetland meat is more tender than most lamb because it is not bred for a fast return and grows slower than the lamb you find at the market. The taste is known to be unique, almost sweet, and it has a marbled look, much like beef. If lamb is a favourite, buy this lamb direct from a farmer to be sure you are getting the best quality.
Perfect Sheep for Smallholders
Smallholders might consider keeping Shetland sheep as they have a good nature and are not known to be difficult to work with. Consider 4 to 5 sheep per acre if there is good grassland and pasture for them. These sheep are good conservators as well. Their small feet do not disrupt the natural habitats of native plants and other wildlife, and the sheep do not destroy grass by taste unless they intend to eat it.
Shetland sheep have a lot going for them, whether you keep them for their wool, strictly as conservators, or for their meat. They are an easy choice.