July has arrived in Castledawson and we are still enjoying some dry humid weather which makes a difference to the product mix leaving the bakery - soda farls, potato bread and pancake sales are a way down but have been replaced by a huge increase in burger baps and bridge rolls. Last weekend saw the start of fresh local raspberries from Kyle's Maghera which made a lovely compliment to their strawberries. We used the raspberries on chocolate ganache cake and for the lighter touch mini pavolvas which we covered with a mixture of chopped raspberries which had been soaked in raspberry liquor, then blended with fresh cream and dropped onto the pavolvas in large dollops.
This week is the start of the traditional 12th fortnight were traditionally we see a drop off in local customers who would normally head to sunnier destinations and thankfully in recent years an increase in foreign visitors. This year could be different with the credit crunch - I just spoke to Jason our butcher today who for the first time is trying a camping holiday but informs me that his wife tried nine camping sites in Northern Ireland before she got a vacancy.
I have eventually suceeded in growing a wild flower meadow - after three attempts and many different packs of seeds! I sourced my seeds and advice from MAS Seeds Ltd.
My bee mentor - Michael and I opened my hive last Friday and discovered the queen had departed and thankfully hadn't taken many bees with her! We also discovered several queen cells and after destroying all but two we hope we will have a new queen in the next week or so. The bees are busy and already starting to produce honey and as a new bee keeper I am still fasinated with the whole bee culture and looking forward to my own honey from Glenshane this Autumn.