The Patch at Kilduff was borne from a simple desire of Russell and Lucy Calder to involve their three young children in the day to day farming at Kilduff. Kilduff Farm traditionally is an arable farm with large fields of crops and heavy machinery and as such very little scope for children to be involved in the running of the family farm. After exploring numerous diversification options, Russell and Lucy, with much excited encouragement from the children, settled on working to establish their very own pumpkin picking patch. It took 2 years of research and planning and a lot of trial and error before The Patch opened to the public for pumpkin picking in October 2018.
In spring 2018 the team at Kilduff sowed 5000 pumpkin seeds and cared for them in a polytunnel until they were well enough established to be planted out on The Patch. In the absence of a pumpkin planter, each of the 5000 plants was planted into the field by hand – back breaking work but undoubtably worth the pain once the last plant was in the ground. The 5000 plants bore around 8000 pumpkins and thanks to strong branding by the fantastic team at Daysix and a social media campaign run by Lucy, the Patch welcomed around 6000 visitors to pick their own pumpkins over two weekends in October.
Unique to the area and set in the heart of East Lothian, pumpkin picking on The Patch at Kilduff was a huge hit with children young and old. A bale maze, coffee and toasties sold by the fantastic Sinclair & Rice from their refurbished horsebox, photo opportunities and some beautiful blue-sky days provided a wholesome, back to nature family day out.
2019 on The Patch will offer much of the same wholesome family fun. However, the addition of a dedicated culinary patch will also offer specific varieties of locally grown culinary pumpkins to chefs and foodies across the Lothians. An exciting collaboration with The Scottish Bee Company brought bees to the farm in Spring this year and the 13 original hives have already expanded to 17. A perfect opportunity to help protect and support one of nature’s most important creatures while hopefully increasing crop yields and growing the business.
The team at Kilduff Farm are hugely passionate about everything to which they turn their hands - from the crops in the field to the self-catering holiday cottage, commercial units to beehives and now growing pumpkins. They believe it is extremely important for people, especially children, to learn about what they are eating, where it comes from, how it is grown or produced and experience a little bit of farming life. This is the driving force behind The Patch.