Graduate freelance writer. Visit my online portfolio at www.nataliebollu.yolasite.com
Published August 23rd 2012
Ever tried crocodile, ostrich and kangaroo? Well here is your chance
Johnson's of Old Hurst is a unique farm and shop in Cambridgeshire near Huntingdon, which certainly is not your normal day out at a farm. The farm is home to many regular farmyards animals, such as pigs, cows and sheep. However, this farm also has something a little more special – it is Britain's first crocodile farm.
Johnson's have been producing local meat for over 100 years and as time has gone by, their animals are still traditionally reared on the farm and new animals are often being added. The farm shop and tea room have recently been revamped and is extremely popular because of their huge supply of unique and excellent quality produce. Customers can purchase all kinds of meat which are reared at the farm – including the crocodile, ostrich and kangaroo.
Entry to see all of the animals around the farm is free of charge, and the crocodile feeding time at the crocodile enclosure is a must see. In 2004, the farm received their first Nile crocodiles which are being grown for breeding stock. The crocodile enclosure is a great place to observe and learn about these fascinating animals, especially when they are moving around a lot during feeding time. Other animals you will come across as you make your way around the farm are beef cattle, breeding cows, sheep, pigs, ostrich, llamas, red deer, ducks and many more.
After visiting the animals, you can then make your way to the tea room and the farm shop. 'The Eccentric Englishman' tea room and garden is in a beautifully newly built building, where you can try some of the local produce. Home produced food can be purchased in the tea room which is made using ingredients from the farm shop, however on my visit I did hope to be able to try some more of the unique meats in here. Traditional cream tea and a selection of cakes are also served in the tea room which is always superb. The tea room can get extremely busy, so it is often best to book a table before you leave for your visit. If the weather is nice you can even sit in the garden whilst looking at the crocodiles and other animals. Picnics are (unfortunately) not allowed on the farm and food can only be purchased from within the shop or tea room.
Another unique aspect of the farm is that it also has a Scandinavian arctic pine lodge positioned around the animals. There are a range of packages which can be booked in here, such as the BBQ package (£15 for the day and £20 for the night) where you can cook yourself a brilliant choice of meats from the shop with a group of friends. This is a great way of trying all the different types of meat the farm has to offer. The afternoon tea package can also be purchased for £12.50 and includes a section of sandwiches, cream scones, cakes and tea. Afternoon tea in the lodge is closer to the animals and is more private than being in the tea room. Children's birthday parties are also popular in the lodge where a selection of food, tractor rides and inflatable toys are supplied. During your visit children can use the children's playing field around the animals, of which has toy tractors and a play fort. For further information on the packages that the farm has to offer please refer to their website.