How the long range forecasters got it wrong again! If you have a big enough garage, you could have a BBQ! Anyhow, August has arrived wet and windy and at home we have started to enjoy the vegetables from our raised beds. Only last week my evening meal included peas, broad beans, cabbage and potatoes all grown by ourselves. Interestingly, it was also the week that the government informed us that organic food is no more nutritious than non-organic. Having grown my vegetables 'naturally', as I am not a big fan of the word organic, nutrition was not my main reason but as the food on my plate proved it was about taste and the non use of chemicals as weedkillers or pesticides. Now that we have almost got rid of conventional farmers - is this the government's means of destroying those who have diversified into organic? (I'm sure you will find a few major share holders of Tesco directors somewhere in the background!)
Our raised beds this year have been a success due to a little forward planning. Instead of having 20 lettuce ready for eating on the same week we staggered the planting by splitting the raised beds into two and planting seedlings four weeks apart. This year we grew broad beans, two different varieties of lettuce, rocket, two different varieties of cabbage, cauliflower, beetroot, chives, parsley and potatoes.
The raised beds are about a metre wide and four metres long.
The bees have produced a new queen and she has just started laying but unfortunately the pollen flow has all but ended for the year. As a result I took the top super off at the weekend and the kitchen worktops are now covered in pots of Glenshane honey! So in the next few weeks I will start work on my honey yeast starter to produce our own sourdough for the bakery. No doubt other ideas using honey in the bakery will develop. The bee keeping experience has been extremely exciting to date and I would encourage more people to have a serious look at it as a hobby. Take a look at the Institute of Northern Ireland Beekeepers.
July trade was rather sluggish particularly in south Derry but was buoyant in our coastal wholesale accounts, obviously everyone braved the bad weather and still went to the seaside! Rhubarb tarts and franzipans proved to be top sellers in the comfort food category and soda farls and potato bread were still the popular holiday breakfast.
Helen (wife) and I had a couple of very relaxing days in Donegal with our dogs. If you have dogs who need a holiday check out Rathmullan House . Fantastic food in a very friendly and comfortable family hotel.