We’ve been running WWOOFing taster days since early 2018 and in an effort to make them accessible to all we hold them in different locations around the UK. Our latest ‘try before you buy’ event was on a five acre smallholding in beautiful Shropshire.
Hosts Margaret and Peter have one acre of garden and four acres of field and woodland. They keep cattle, sheep and pigs for meat, hens for eggs, goats for milk and a horse and two dogs. Producing vegetables all year round and seasonal top and soft fruit, they also grow herbs and flowering plants.
Here’s what Margaret and Peter had to say about the event:
It was with some trepidation that we approached this event but the WWOOF team were very encouraging and four tasters were booked in.
Come the day and the four turned up: Chris, Laura, Darrell and Oscar (plus WWOOFer Andrea who had been with us all week and had helped to prepare the food for the day).
Following advice we immediately set about chatting and drinking tea and eating cake. The sun was shining and we sat at the picnic benches; we could easily have spent a pleasant day getting to know one another and just chilling out but the WWOOF work ethic kicked in.
We did the tour of the garden – this is the bit about having visitors that I always like – I find that I can view the garden through other peoples’ eyes. ‘What is that old saw?’ … a visitor can only see the successes but the gardener can only see the failures…
After this tour we settled down to do a bit of WWOOFing, it is amazing how working together with other willing WWOOFers speeds-up a job; sharing the physical load and chatting makes time fly by. Two people working together can achieve far more than double of one person working alone. We worked with our visitors as we find that this is the best way of showing how we want the job done and it is an opportunity for that most enjoyable of human endeavours…chatting!!!
By lunchtime we had mucked-out the goat shed and cut lots of comfrey for liquid manure.
Lunch was a choice of courgette soup, curried parsnip soup (made by Andrea) and potato bread (made by Margaret) and Michaelmas apples from the nearby tree; and, of course, lots of chatter and questions and answers about organic gardening.
After lunch we swapped around and did more of my favourite job i.e. mucking-out (I always picture it turning in to lovely compost!). Raspberries were also pruned and tied-in. Chris expressed an interest in scything, so as we got the scythe out I impressed upon him how difficult it is but he must be related to Aiden Turner because he cut a swath through the thistles across the field like a seasoned professional (although he kept his shirt on).
Then it was time for tea and cake (made by Margaret) and a chat about how the day had gone and as a bonus there was music! Oscar had brought along his flute and played us a very special tune.
The conclusion of the day was that the tasters would like to do WWOOFing and the tasted are very pleased to have met some committed organic gardeners who will no doubt turn in to excellent WWOOFers.
Margaret and Peter Anderson, September 2019.
We are so pleased with the experiences potential WWOOFers are having at these taster days and we will continue to arrange more in the future.
[Thanks to Margaret & Peter for the photos]