It was the first year they had opened for such an event and are planning to expand next year. They are a plant nursery primarily, but are expanding into all things smallholding, including vegetable and fruit growing.
The owner Ben, is passionate about plants and poultry, this was self evident in his talks, his exuberance made his talks on his prized chickens, ducks and especially pigeons come alive. It was wonderful to listen to his enthusiasm, made us all want to go out and buy the assorted breeds.
Ben holding a Frill Back Pigeon
Tom holding an Olde English Game Cockerel
Tom who runs the smallholding side of things, director of Black Duck Farm and an ex elephant keeper, (thankfully he hadn't brought any of them with him to Norfolk), is expert in all things alpaca's; their nature, characteristics, his obvious love of the animals shone through. Relatively new to gardening, soaking up advice from any older gardeners he comes across, he has decided to concentrate on heritage varieties and can't wait for his apples to ripen.
Upcycling at its best - mattress bed springs for plants to climb up
It was great to listen to such enthusiasm for all things smallholding. His Cayuga ducks were a delight, (see pic below); I am currently convincing Michael that we 'need' some!
Both Ben and Tom were disappointed in the lack of turnout of stallholders that had been invited. Most sent produce to be sold in the shop - cards, local beers and apple juice, jewellery, books and mugs. I don't think they should have been too down hearted, I thought they got the day just right, with guided talks on the all the various departments - poultry, gardens and plants; plus with them being so approachable, it was easy to ask many questions, I could have stayed an awful lot longer.
Cafe, Shop and Gallery
The one stallholder who did turn up, admittedly he only had to come from the next village was Angus Paterson. He sells secondhand, quality garden and smallholder tools from his self-built shepherd's hut.
He let me have a wander around it (after he'd tidied up!), and it was a delight to behold, I never knew there was so much room in them.
I was stunned with the quality and vast array of livestock there was, the poultry especially, I had never seen so many breeds in one place; the crane's were magnificent, see pic below.
Bourbon Red Turkeys
Naked Neck Chicken (stood on one leg)
Thanks must go to all at Blacksmith's Cottage Nursery and Black Duck Farm, it was a great day out; the lemon cake was also a real treat. Looking forward to next year already.
Stats today -
Eggs produced = 13
1/2 dozen eggs £0.90