With a forecast of near freezing temperatures and persistent rainfall, Year 5 bravely kitted up to visit Stevens Farm, an apple orchard owned by our very own MHS Budd family here in Hawkhurst.
Pupils were shown the process from ‘farm to fork’, starting in the packing house where the apples are initially washed, selected and then go through a magical machine that takes 10 photos of each apple to assess each one. They are then sorted into their sizes and quality and sent to different conveyor belts for packing. The environmental impacts of different types of packaging were discussed and the pupils identified that it is best for the environment to purchase apples loosely, rather than in plastic bags. The enormous ‘fridges’ where the air is closely controlled to minimise respiration and keep the apples cold were seen and then the children braved the outside weather to view the orchard. The farm machinery, otherwise known as Mr Budd’s ‘toys’, was impressively spotless and they learnt about how GPS technology is used to minimise the use of fertiliser, which has positive economic and environmental impacts.
It was a great day out and Year 5 were a credit to the School, with excellent behaviour and interesting questions. We hope that it has given them a greater appreciation of the effort, time and passion that goes into the food on our plates and the efforts that farmers go to in order to ensure their farming practices are economically and environmentally sustainable. Huge thanks to the Budd family for hosting us so well, showing us around their farm and describing the processes within it, not to mention the box of delicious, crunchy apples that we were sent home with.
Mr Kimber, Head of Geography