Visitors have a field day

Kim CousinsCountryman

There was a city and country convergence at Gidgegannup on Sunday for the Gidgegannup Small Farm Field Day.

Now in its fifth year, the field day was bigger than ever with an estimated 5000 visitors, from Perth and surrounding areas, through the gates.

Secretary/food and wine co-ordinator Penny Morgan said the Experience Gidgegannup committee was thrilled with attendance on the day.

"It was excellent, the best we've had," she said. "The talks were full, with standing room only, and all the food places sold out.

"It was so good to see it buzzing like that, it looks like we finally got the mix just right. The interest in growing produce and animals is definitely there."

The variety of activities and displays was vast, with kids treated to a goat milking demonstration and pony rides.

Alpaca meat was on the menu and the Midland Poultry Society drew a steady stream of visitors through the chook shed.

Beyond Gardens held a series of talks in the sustainability pavilion on bushfoods and landscaping while preserving pro Shirley Robinson shared her knowledge with bottlers of all ages.

The machinery sector was well represented with motorbikes, lawn tools, trailers and small tractors, and several pieces of equipment sold on the day.

Jarrahdale orchardists and first-time stallholders at Gidgegannup Jan and Ross Jones brought along 300kg of mandarins, selling all but a couple of kilos.

"People ask you all sorts of things," Jan said. "They want to know about fertiliser, water use. You've really got to be area specific though - we've got good soil (for mandarins) where we are.

"People also like to try the fruit, especially the kids."

The day was opened by Member for Swan Hills Frank Alban, who spoke of the importance of small landholders.

"Small farms play a very important role in our community," he said. "The more complicated our world becomes the more conscious we become about where our food comes from. That's what today is all about."

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