This is my entry for Knittingtastic’s See it, Blog it challenge, the challenge for this month was visiting somewhere localish that you have always meant to visit and have never quite got there. I chose somewhere I have been following on twitter for quite a while, Stepney City Farm I had started to follow them after they advertised for a rural arts person in residence., unfortunately the opportunity came up in the first week of this Bells Palsy thing so really didn’t feel I should apply as we were still unsure medically what was going on.
Anyway I having been thinking about visiting ever since and as me and the little boy were up reasonably early this morning and it was quite overcast (better for my over sensitive eyes at the moment) we decided to head out. Now the farm is not far from Stepney Green station but we were lucky enough to be able to take the bus to almost the front door. It is quite easy to spot from a distance but its beautiful green lushness in amongst the urban grey structures, that and a bull looking at you through the fence.
Now I have been to several of these types of places before in my old job as youth/child worker before I had Pete, mostly the other side of London, quite a few of which you have to pay to get into but I haven’t taken Pete to one yet and I am so glad we chose this one, the staff/volunteers are wonderful, they go out of their way to take time for you, we had only just walked in to the front gate and were just reading the safety rules together and we were approached and welcomed and they really made time to listen to Pete even if it was about buses rather than animals, there was no feeling that we were in the way or they were just being nice because they had to, and they were all the same, everyone we encountered couldn’t have been more helpful.
One of the fun things to do on the site is buy some animal feed (only £1 for a pot, either for the birds or animals) and go and feed the animals.
Here is Pete being cornered by his ‘friends’ who are all happily tucking into seed, the chickens are pretty much free range and although they do seem to have a designated area they do roam around with the other animals and Pete found himself being followed by these friendly chaps.
There were also Pigs, although we didn’t feed these as they have a sign on their pen warning that they might bite.
Goats, who were very very keen to be fed
Geese, who are being raised I think in particular for an upcoming Michelmas feast, this is a working farm and not a petting zoo.
There were also ducks, sheep, Guinea Pigs, rabbits, Bulls….. I am sure I have missed something out, there was so much to see in quite a tight space. There were also the most wonderful allotment plots including this fantastic raised accessible ones that I so wish our local allotment had as I would be putting my name down for one as I love gardening but my back limits so much what I can do and these would be the perfect solution.
There is also a wildlife pond surrounded by an edible garden, it also has a rural arts centre which has three studios which unfortunately didn’t see to have anyone in today but I think that was down to their farmers market being on today. There is also the most wonderful cafe.
They try and source as much of their food locally as they can and have a varied menu all cooked on site including gluten free options, there is also space inside to sit but it is all beautifully eclectic and I could have happily spent an afternoon just sitting there, unfortunately we arrived a bit late and most of the food have already been sold but Pete did manage to find a nice bit of homemade chocolate cake and I had the best cup of tea I have had in a long time(I may actually have to order some tea bags it was that good).
Although we were on a bit of a budget day out I couldn’t resist buying some fresh runner beans and beetroot from the farms own gardens, I did resist the duck eggs. What I didn’t resist though was some wonderful fresh fish from this man.
Not the best photo in the world but the dover sole that I ate for my dinner this evening that he caught over night was wonderful and a very very reasonable price.
I can honestly say that we had the most wonderful day out, we will be going back. I highly recommend it to anyone, even just to drop in for a coffee and if I lived more locally I think I would be there every day as the place has this warmth that you don’t get in many places these days and I think if the weather holds it might be a good place for a knitting meet up too.