Agricultural shows are about more than just ribbons, trophies, and really big vegetables.
With approx 85% of us Manxies now having received 2 doses of a vaccine, and armed with extra precautions that we’ve learned through Covid, more than a few thousand of us ventured out, Covid-safely, to attend the annual (except for the Covid year that was skipped) Isle of Man Southern Agricultural Show. This year the show moved to Orrisdale Farm in Ballasalla, and the new location didn’t disappoint.
The hard working team at Ballakelly Farm are over the moon for winning the Best Small Producer Stand award for the thoughtfully constructed stand showcasing a mix of great Ballakelly Farm meats – all of which are guaranteed 100% Manx. No imports, no fillers, no dodgy labelling.
But for us attending the show, we realized something marvellous after a very difficult year for so many of us. Traditional events such as the Southern Show restore places for our friends and community to come together in a place where we’re not asked to do anything but mooch around and have a good time. Good old fashioned relaxation and fun.
Don’t get us wrong about Agricultural Shows, we love a really big pumpkin and some painstakingly-made gooseberry marmalade as much as the next person, but what all of the Ballakelly Farm team pleasantly noticed was that we were seeing people that we had not seen for a while, or were seeing people we had never seen before, all slowing down a bit.
Fewer people looking at mobiles. Fewer people rushing around to meet a deadline. Instead, we saw people of all backgrounds and ages stopping to take notice of the produce and tasty goodies that our island home lovingly provides, and is lovingly made and put together by enthusiastic neighbours, cooks, and foodies for our enjoyment.
The ag shows help take our children and young adults out of the internet bubble, and shows, and hopefully helps them learn, about the environment that sustains us, and where our food comes from. Hopefully, young visitors to the Manx produce tent will enjoy the island’s fresh, local, and 100% Manx treats that are also low on food miles, and use less emissions to produce and get to your table.
We had a full team of Ballakelly Farm Meat Heroes working our stand at the show, and it was great to see our community come out and safely enjoy some outdoor social time. the only downside of the weekend was that Farmer Al was working hard back at the farm taking care of the animals, especially the cows that kept him up all weekend.
We’ll next be at the Royal Manx Agricultural Show on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th August, at Knockaloe, in Patrick.