Full open farm days return to Round the Bend

Apr 17, 2021

At Round the Bend Farm, things are finally starting to feel normal again. 

On April 17, the farm opened up its gates for families to partake in its first full Open Farm Day of the year.

Socially distanced versions of Open Farm Day were held last year, but they were limited to small group tours and drive-thru markets. Meanwhile, other activities such as school field trips and other sustainable events remained on pause.

With vaccinations on the rise, Executive Director Desa Van Laarhoven said the farm was more than ready to reimagine how the monthly event goes, and was glad to see so many people visit on the rainy day.

“People really came out,” she said. “It feels right.” 

For the reimagined Open Farm Day, greeters were placed at the entrance to explain how the socially distanced farmers market works, and to make numbers were kept below the maximum occupancy.  

The farm also offered smaller-sized farm tours for groups of 12 or fewer, which, unlike past Open Farm Day tours, could be reserved online ahead of time.

During an 11:30 a.m. tour, Van Laarhoven led a masked group around the barn to meet and greet some of the animals, and shared some fun facts about them.

“Pigs can actually live outside all winter long as long as they have a dry space to be,” Van Laarhoven told the group. “Every night, they’ll bring a huge thing of hay and build a nest.” 

Even with the new rules, those who attended the tour said it was worth it to no longer be cooped up at home. 

Dartmouth resident Elizabeth Hurson said that “it was great to do something outside,” especially with her three-year-old and three-month-old.

“Plus [my son] likes animals,” she added.

Jack Hurson, 3, said he especially enjoyed meeting the farm’s baby goats, although he said he “didn’t know” why.

Little Compton resident Wilma Bruining came with her friend’s grandson John Osborne as a gift for his sixth birthday. 

“He was so excited when he heard he was coming to the farm,” she said. “Even with the rain, this is a great outing.”

Along with continuing with larger Open Farm Days, Van Laarhoven said Round the Bend has big plans for the property.

Last year, she noted that her team acquired land formerly owned by the Sid Wainer farm. While her plans for this year aren’t as grand as new land, the executive director said her team is currently looking into getting a food truck to educate the South Coast more about the farm’s operations.

“We’re super lucky to have this space and manifest all of this amazing stuff,” Van Laarhoven said. “But at the end of the day, some people can’t get to us — so we can soon get to them.”