The excellent weather in September made up for the wet July and August and also proved to be the best sales month of the three. Castledawson is still in a state of repair with new pavements, bollards, trees, which as traders, we are all looking forward to the work being finished and the excitment of all the refurbishments just before Christmas.
In recent months we have had a few contacts from customers, some from faceless, nameless people and others from people who were prepared to allow us to explain E numbers in food and what they really mean. It annoys me when people jump to conclusions without researching the facts for themselves. There is a misconception that all E numbers are chemicals and harmful so I recommend the following two websites for those who wish to become better informed before sending me hate mail! CureZone and Explore E numbers.
At home my bees are being prepared for Winter with feeds of sugar syrup but in the better days recently they would have been collecting a lot of ivy pollen. Much to my surprise, at my very first honey show, namely Randalstown, my honey cake and my honey cookies were awarded first prize which has concluded my first year as a beekeeper on a high. I now have to live up to this high standard when I present to the Randalstown and District Beekeepers Association at my bakery in Castledawson on the 18th November. Check their website for details. I am already preparing for next year by providing the bees with as many sources of raw material as possible. I intend to extend my wildflower meadow and recently I sowed clover on the paddock.
Some new products on the shelves include three new breads: Spelt and Honey, Corn Bread and Multiseed with Dried Cranberry and Sultana. The Spelt and Honey Bread is made from spelt flour, sunflower seeds, coarsely ground lupin seeds and honey. Spelt flour is similar in texture to light rye breads but with a slightly sweet and nutty flavour. The Corn Bread is maize based, containing sunflower seeds and is golden in colour. The Multigrain Bread contains four grains and a variety of seeds. The cranberries and sultanas add a sweetness to this bread.
This month concludes with Halloween and we want to celebrate the Armagh Bramley. Did you know apples have been grown in Armagh for 3,000 years and St. Patrick is said to have planted an apple tree at Ceangoba, an ancient settlement east of Armagh. The Armagh apple industry is worth an estimated £50 million per year and employs up to 1,500 local people. So I for one will be a supporter of their application for a PGI which is a European protection on the Armagh Bramley. We are currently working with a grower who will produce our sweet mince using Armagh Bramley Apples for this Christmas and the possiblity of a new oatcake using apple juice.
No photographs this time as I would like to have some of the new pavements etc. on my Halloween blog next week.