Welcome back to Hen Corner, especially to new visitors since our recent feature in The Guardian.
I’m a firm believer that Christmas continues until the twelfth night and remain in the festive spirit until the very last minute, I love the season of thankfulness as we prepare through Advent, celebrate through Christmas, and count our blessing as we look both back and forward whilst the calendar turns to a New Year.
Regular readers will know that last January saw the start of me working full time with Hen Corner, we’ve had an amazing year and would like to take this opportunity, as 2016 gets underway, to pause with thanks and remember some of the highlights.
January brought a wonderful surprise; we discovered that we’d been named first in 10 of the Best Courses in London, with Claridges Masterclasses placed as number two. Our courses continued to be successful throughout the year with several new session being offered.
It was a delight to go back to Heathland School to run a borough wide INSET (Staff Training) session for Harrow Schools helping teachers explore and plan strategies for Keeping Chickens and Bees in School.
We were privileged to participate in every day at the Country Living Spring Fair at the Business Design Centre in Islington. Sara gave a series of talks and food demonstrations as well as taking questions from the audience during theatre interviews.
Macy and Sara packed up a couple of cages of chickens and drove them across London to spend the day at the Horniman Museum helping local families to celebrate all things ‘chicken’ as the Easter holidays began.
A major project for the year was having our kitchen rebuilt and then, once completed in May, we were open for a whole range of new courses like our Half Term Pizza Together family course
A highlight of June was to spend a whole day at Meadlands Primary School in Richmond. They had received some chickens during the Half Term holiday and wanted us to help introduce them to every single child! Sara ran a workshop with every class and also joined in with the whole school assembly to explain more about Hen Corner.
As Sara was now available full time for Hen Corner, we offered a new Full Day Bee Keeping course which very quickly became over subscribed, a very hot day in July found 8 of us exploring who is in the hive, the responsibilities of the bee keeper, and much more including a special honey tasting.
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Pause for thought – beekeeping from BEAR on Vimeo.
We were honoured to have been asked in August to host the annual team away day for BEAR London, as we all know, bears like honey so they wanted a Bee Keeping day and made this great film as a reminder. Thank you to Thomas and Sally who came to help on the day.
The second Sunday in September is set in stone as Cider Sunday when we invite friends and neighbours to bring along homegrown, scrumped or windfall apples to wash, chop, crush and press to make juice that ferments into cider. 2015 was a record breaker, we made a whopping 108 pints of juice for cider/perry and have 12 gallons (over 75 bottles!) of wine on the go…
This year, the National Honey Show was very exciting as we came home with an armful of awards! We collected a First prize, a Second prize, a Very Highly Commended and a big Silver Cup!
By November we were seeing good steady growth in our new Micro Bakery, it all sort of happened by accident, but has been a fantastic success, thanks so much to my baking buddy Katie and the support of our wonderful customers.
The Cinnamon Network decided to bring their Leadership Team to Hen Corner for a Corporate Away Day twice during the year, initially in June to make Cinnamon Swirls then again at Christmas for a Wreath Workshop followed by a Festive Feast. We think they enjoyed it as they have asked us to run two more days for them in 2016!
So all in all, a fantastic year.
These are just twelve of the highlights, but there were many, many more. Thank you for all the opportunities to work with some wonderful people, let’s now look forward to the new year ahead.
- It was great to have a break over Christmas seeing family and friends
- We were delighted that The Guardian featured Sara in their Kitchen Encounters series
- School bookings are coming in quite regularly, do get in touch if you’d like us to help your school
Jobs for this week:
- Confirm our talks and workshops for this year’s Country Living Spring Fair
- Write my next article for Out and About magazine
- Get ready for the first Micro Bakery of the year, we are launching several new products this week!
Join us on the Journey!