The decs are down, the children are back at school and we’re off!
Yes, we’re off to start another brand spanking new year, but my baking buddy, Katie, and I are also off on a super Five Day Bread Making Course with Richard Bertinet down at his cookery school in beautiful Bath. Hopefully, we will come back with new skills and experience to share with both our course guests and bakery customers.
Traditionally, at this time of year, we like to look back at highlights of the previous year and look forward to plans and ambitions for 2017. We’ve just finished the second year of Hen Corner as a full time business and have been so encouraged with all that we’ve seen and done. Below are just a few of the good times…
2016 in words and numbers…
Our courses continue to be popular with a total of 218 guests across 18 different courses, our most popular this year was Bread: Sweet & Savoury where we taught 43 guests the secret of the Cinnamon Swirl!
It’s been great to work with a number of London Schools, this year we taught 1034 pupils with 180 students baking their own loaves of organic bread and the remainder hugging our hens!
We’ve logged all the food that we’ve harvested from the garden and, in 2016, this totalled 244 kg worth £1,788.06 which contributed to 3039 meals!
Throughout the year, we were especially proud of the following:
- Our brand new website, which you can see here, thanks to Raw Brothers, Jess, Ed and Joel for making this happen
- The Country Living Magazine Fairs, both Spring and Christmas, we were honoured to have been invited to give a talk on ‘Turning a Hobby’ into a Business which was very well received
- Regular features in both local and national media
- Three of our products reaching the finals in the Urban Food Awards and bringing home six awards from the National Honey Show
Looking to the Year Ahead:
We always start the year with the best intentions to keep on top of things in the garden, this year we will need some help with heavy duty tree work as some are getting a little too big. We will wage war on the squirrels again by building a cage over the almond tree and will do our best for a great crop of peaches by sheltering the tree to prevent peach leaf curl. We will be dressing the raised beds with well rotted compost and hoping to grow a great variety of vegetables in the Kitchen Garden.
Whilst garden is too cold and wet for much gardening at the moment, we are doing our best for the friendly wildlife visitors who come searching for winter food. We have a variety of Suet to Go feeders positioned in the apple trees to attract the hungry little birds searching for nutrient rich suet treats that will help keep them warmer over the coming months. Whilst they are often frequented by squirrels, parrots and pigeons, when we do see little robins and tits discovering their delights, it’s wonderful to watch.
- Unfortunately, the six chicks that hatched back in June were ALL BOYS! Fortunately, they chose the shortest days of the year with the latest wake up call to start crowing…
- The Chief Veterinary Officer has extended a Prevention Zone to help protect poultry from avian flu, so there’s no free ranging for our girls
- We checked on the bees and both colonies are quite small, we treated them for varroa mite and moved their sugar fondant feed a bit closer to help them find it
Jobs for the Week:
- Get inspired as we spent the week baking with the wonderful Richard Bertinet
- Support the team at Cultivate London as they launch an exciting new schools programme
- Take 48 litres of milk to Elthorne Park High School to teach their GSCE students how to make cheese
How are you feeling about this new year? What are you looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to getting plants growing in my full sized (I’ve had a small lean too for a few years) newly refurbished second hand greenhouse which I finished assembling today 🙂
Sounds great Wendy! We had a mini polytunnel last spring and that made a huge difference…