Parsnips and Chickens Down on the Farm


Parsnips and Chickens

Preschool series. Storm visits a parsnip farm, JB learns about chickens and helps to collect and sort eggs, and Storm picks vegetables in a polytunnel.


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# Come join us down on the farm today

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# Learn about nature along the way

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# From seeds to crops and field to plants

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# So much to do down on the farm

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# Summer, autumn, winter, spring

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# Ploughing, planting, harvesting

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# With JB and Storm to lead the way

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# Come join us down on the farm today. #

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Cock-a-doodle-doo!

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Hello, I'm JB and welcome to Down on the Farm.

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Now it's winter, it's time for farmers to make sure that all

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their machinery is working perfectly for the year ahead.

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So while I help out on this farm, let's find out what Storm's up to.

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Cock-a-doodle-doo!

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It's early in the morning,

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and I've been asked to meet Farmer Kevin here in this field.

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But what could he be doing at this time of day?

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Here comes Farmer Kevin now.

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Morning, Storm.

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-Would you like to help me pick some parsnips today?

-Picking parsnips?

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Yes, please! Parsnips are a root vegetable.

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They're grown, harvested and mainly eaten in winter.

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Because they grow underground they get lots of goodness from the soil.

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This means they're very healthy to eat and full of vitamins and iron.

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Now, Kevin, why are you up so early harvesting parsnips?

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Winter's our busiest time. We work long hours to

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make sure we get the parsnips harvested.

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How will you harvest that many parsnips?

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With this big parsnip harvester.

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-Do you think I might be able to help?

-I'm sure you could, yeah.

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This combine harvester has special machinery fitted to it which

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harvests the parsnips.

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A rotary blade digs the parsnips out of the ground.

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The mud is shaken off and then the parsnips are collected and

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sorted on top of the combine harvester.

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So this is what all the hard work was for.

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Look at all the parsnips we've collected!

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So what part of the parsnip is it that we eat?

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The whole root, from top to bottom. In the winter

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they're sweeter because the starch is turned to sugar.

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-They're tastiest in the winter?

-Yes, a lot tastier.

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Now we've collected all these parsnips, where do they go?

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They go back to the factory to be washed and packed.

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Well, let's go take a look.

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The parsnips are off-loaded into the factory where they are washed.

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'The workers separate the different sizes and shapes.'

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-You have to be pretty fast, don't you?

-Yes.

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They are then wrapped in plastic,

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ready to go to the markets and shops.

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A parsnip that has been harvested can be in the shops in as

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little as five hours.

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Parsnips that look misshapen, also known as "wonky parsnips",

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get turned into tasty crisps, so nothing goes to waste.

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It was well worth getting up early just to see how

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parsnips are harvested. I can't wait to cook some,

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but in the meantime, do you fancy trying some parsnip crisps?

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Sounds good to me.

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While we enjoy these tasty vegetable treats,

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why don't you find out what else happens in winter?

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Beep, beep!

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For wild creatures, food is much harder to find in winter.

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They have to make the most of every chance they get.

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Often it is us, their human neighbours,

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who provide those chances.

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Birds need to eat a lot to stay warm at this time of year,

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and many of them rely on food we give them.

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Larger birds like greenfinches and nuthatches

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will jealously guard such a valuable supply.

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In the countryside,

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these gulls and red kites have worked out that following

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a farmer's plough is the best way to get a good meal in winter.

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To prepare for planting, ploughs turn over the soil.

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This unearths lots of worms which birds can't dig up on their

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own when the ground is frozen.

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They swoop in, and help themselves again and again.

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When we are not looking,

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sneaky foxes take the chance to rake through our bins for food scraps,

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while others find that it pays to be bold.

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This squirrel just pops into his local barber shop and demands

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some nuts.

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When he has had enough to eat,

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he even stashes some away in a pot plant for later.

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Being around humans can help creatures in other ways, too.

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During long, dark winter nights small birds are in danger

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from hungry owls, so to feel safe,

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these pied wagtails have chosen to roost beside Heathrow Airport,

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which gives off light and heat all night long.

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In the spring, summer and autumn months, the weather is much

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warmer, so we can grow a lot of fruit and veg outside.

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But in the winter it's too cold, so we need something very

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special to keep the fruit and vegetables nice and warm.

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We need a...

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ALL: Polytunnel!

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Yes, we need a polytunnel like this one in Birmingham.

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The children at this school grow lots of plants and herbs. Hi guys!

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ALL: Hello, Storm!

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So, what does a polytunnel protect fruit and vegetables from?

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-Frost.

-Birds.

-Wind.

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Absolutely.

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And it also traps the air inside, and it keeps it nice and warm.

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-Does it feel warmer in here?

-ALL: Yeah.

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Yeah, it feels nice and warm, doesn't it?

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Now, what sorts of things are you growing in your polytunnel?

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-ALL: Peppers! Chillies! Basil!

-Absolutely.

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Lots of things that would grow in warmer weather,

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but the polytunnel acts like a greenhouse

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so we can grow them when it's cold.

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Does anybody want to show me how to plant some seeds?

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-ALL: Me!

-Well, let's get planting!

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Today we're going to plant chillies and basil.

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First we need to sieve the soil.

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Then we put the soil in the pots.

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-So, now it's time to put some seeds in.

-Yeah!

-Yeah!

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You're doing a great job. Well done.

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'Then we cover the seeds with some more soil, and of course,

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'we need to give the seeds some water.

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'Now, off to the polytunnel.'

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It's nice and warm in here, isn't it?

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'These plants need to grow for a few months before they are

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'ready to be picked,

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'but there are some plants here that are ready to be picked now...'

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Let's get picking, guys!

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'..like these lettuce, garlic chives, peppers, and pak choi.'

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Thank you very much.

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I've had a fantastic day learning about polytunnels and

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planting seeds, and I learned that even when it's cold outside

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we can still grow things inside.

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So while we continue picking,

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why don't you take a listen to our chilly poem? Brrr!

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When it's cold, the air tickles my nose

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and freezes my toes.

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I stamp to keep warm.

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The crisp, crunching sound of my boots on the ground

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makes me stomp even more.

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I'm an ice dragon now,

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ferocious and loud.

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I let out a roar! Roaaar!

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ALL: Roaaar!

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And my breath billows white.

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I scream with delight at the magical sight.

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Moo!

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Living in the countryside, I often get woken by the sound of

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"cock-a-doodle-doo!" which is made by one of my favourite animals.

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Do you know what it is? That's right.

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I'm here to find out more about chickens.

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-Hi, Kirsty.

-Hi, JB. Welcome to our farm.

-Thanks.

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You've got some lovely-looking chickens here,

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-but some do look different to others.

-They do, yes.

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This is a male. He's called a cockerel, and he has a large comb.

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We also have hens. They're the females. They lay the eggs.

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They all look happy and healthy.

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How do they get on in the winter?

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Fine. Their feathers keep them warm.

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They have plenty of shelter in their coops.

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-Do they still lay eggs in winter?

-They do, but not as many.

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The lights in their coops make them think

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it's summer. That helps them lay more.

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-Can I help to pick some?

-Of course.

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I've got two little pickers to help you, and they're in there.

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Ivy and Poppy look after their own chickens on the farm,

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and they also help to collect their eggs.

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Hi, Poppy. Hi, Ivy. BOTH: Hi, JB!

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Let's collect some eggs.

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Poppy, do you want to open that side, and I'll open this side?

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There we go. Let's get picking.

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Oh, Poppy, you've got three. I can see one there.

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Ivy's got one.

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Perfect. Well, girls, we've found lots of eggs.

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-Shall we go up to the barn and weigh them.

-Yeah!

-Come on, then.

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Let's get weighing, girls.

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'All the eggs we've collected are put on this conveyor belt.

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'At the end of the conveyor belt, each egg is weighed.

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'Then the machine sorts the eggs based on their size and weight.'

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Wow, look at that.

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'Now we know what size and weight the eggs are,

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'we have to put them into egg boxes.

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'The eggs are put in groups of six, which some people call

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'"half a dozen".

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'Then the eggs are stamped with the farm name,

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'so we know where they're from.

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'Finally, each box gets a label,

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'and they are ready to go to the farm shop to be sold.'

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Finished!

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Thanks for coming, JB, and here's some eggs for you.

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Thank you. I love fresh farm eggs, and I can't wait to taste them.

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While I decide how to have my eggs, lets find out how fishermen

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harvest a different type of food in the winter.

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Toot, toot!

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This is Cameron and his crew.

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We're visiting him on a farm on a Scottish island called Mull.

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This farm is a bit different. There are no tractors.

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Instead, he uses a boat, because the farm is on water,

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and what grows here lives under the sea,

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mussels.

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A mussel is a type of shellfish that we can eat.

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It has two oval-shaped shells to protect its body.

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Although the water is extremely cold in winter,

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mussels grow all the year round.

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They eat tiny creatures in the water called plankton.

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Wild mussels like the ones Cameron is harvesting find

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things in the water to attach themselves to,

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like the ropes that hang from these buoys.

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Once in place, the mussels can start to eat all the good things in

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the water, and they grow bigger.

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The buoys help the fishermen to find the mussels.

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These mussels have been growing on the rope here for about

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three years. When they're the size of your thumb, roughly,

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they're ready to be picked and eaten.

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This is the mussel's beard. This is what helps hold it onto the rope.

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That's us back at the pier now.

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We're going to clean the mussels,

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'remove the beards and seaweed.

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'That's not what we want to eat.'

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They then pack the mussels into boxes,

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which are taken to shops and restaurants to be sold and eaten.

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The best way to eat mussels is when they are fresh from the sea.

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Once they're cooked, the mussels open their shells to show

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their beautiful bright colour.

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So the fishermen are enjoying a lovely hot meal after a hard day.

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Storm, Rory and I had a brilliant time today,

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and we hope you enjoyed it, too.

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You can find even more from Down on the Farm on the CBeebies website.

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See you next time. Bye!

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# Come join us down on the farm today

0:13:340:13:38

# Learn about nature along the way

0:13:380:13:42

# From seeds to crops and field to barn

0:13:420:13:45

# So much to do down on the farm

0:13:450:13:47

# Summer, autumn, winter, spring

0:13:470:13:50

# Ploughing, planting, harvesting

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# With JB and Storm to lead the way

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# Come join us down on the farm today. #

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Storm visits a farm in Litchfield to help harvest a tasty winter vegetable - parsnips. JB meets some children who look after their own chickens and lends a hand collecting and sorting eggs. Storm discovers how a school in Birmingham grows plants all year round, even in wintertime. We take a trip to the Isle of Mull to meet some fishermen, and Rory shares a chilly winter poem.


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