Honey and Mustard…

| 2nd November 2012

Welcome back to Hen Corner!

This last week has been Half Term and I’ve taken a week off from my day job to spend good time with my children. It started with the National Honey Show and has ended with me meeting a wonderful woman who started following me on Twitter when she got her first chickens…

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What does a red star mean?

And the winner is…

I was very pleased to have received an email recently from my bee mentor Andy Pedley whilst he was visiting the National Honey Show. The wording was simply ‘Congratulations, a first!’ and attached was a photo of a jar of honey with a red star. Now all the jars of honey at the NHS look identical (1lb squat) but on checking the class and reference number I recognised it as my honey, but what did a red star mean? Andy’s email said ‘a first’ but was that ‘Well done for entering your first show?’ or something more? Trying not to get too excited, I spent quite a while online trying to decipher the coloured star system of the NHS, red is generally not a good colour is it? Danger, stop, etc…? Could a red star mean disqualified? Eventually, I found a photo of a beekeeper from last year holding up his red-star-stickered honey proclaiming ‘The best in London’ and received a tweet from the show confirming that a red star was indeed first place.

President of the National Honey Show

So I’m very happy and, whilst making several mistakes in this my first year of beekeeping, had a lovely time with the family at the final day of the National Honey Show and was thrilled to receive my certificate and prize money from President of the National Honey Show, Chairman of the London Bee Keepers Association and Bee Keeper to the Queen: John Chapple

‘Winner of the National Honey show, First prize for London Honey 2012’

World Class Bee Keeper

Whilst at the show, I took the opportunity to peruse the other classes and marvel at the winning entries. One label that caught my eye depicted a church that I recognised as being near my parents home in Essex. In fact on reading the label, I discovered that the bee keeper, Jim McNeill, lived in the same road as my parents in Romford (where I grew up) and so I paid him a visit yesterday morning to congratulate him on both his world-class and London wins. He told me that he took 500lbs from 14 hives this year – not bad considering the weather!

Mustard Seed Supper Club

We meet at last!

Today I had the delight of spending the morning with an inspiring woman who is pursuing her dreams and encouraging others as she does so. Katherine Garner is the founder of Mustard Seed Cooking which gathers people together to advance their skills in her Cookery Classes, be blessed by her Private Catering or celebrate at her Supper Clubs. I discovered today that Katherine started following me when she was new to Twitter and was looking for fellow chicken owners; now she has well over a thousand followers waiting on her foodie facts and tasty tips. As I said in our last post, it’s great to meet ‘virtual’ friends and I feel that, albeit through social media, Katherine and I have known each other for ages, but it has left me wondering how I could logistically pop over to Ongar for a Friday night dinner and join in this exciting new discovery of secret restaurants hidden within people’s homes.

Book of the Blog Post: 

Omlet Guide to Keeping Bees

From Omlet

Do you know, I wonder what came first, my love of the bees or my love of the Beehaus? Regular readers know that I’m a fan of the Omlet products and whilst I learnt bee keeping on a National hive, I now love my yellow Beehaus very much. This guide is a great introduction to bee keeping with all the common sense and great photos that Omlet do so well. I picked up my first copy of this book at last year’s London Honey Show and quickly read it from cover to cover; my enthusiasm growing by the page!

This book is available with many of our other favourites books from the Hen Corner Shop!

Other News:

  • We’ve officially registered as a food producer to sell that honey
  • St Faith’s Christmas Fayre will welcome the first Hen Corner stall
  • Our Christmas article for Out & About magazine has been written and submitted

Jobs for next week:

  • Start soaking my fruit for Christmas cakes and puddings
  • Burn the winter tree prunings on Bonfire Night
  • Finalise the label designs for our jellies and preserves

Have a good week yourself…

Join us on the Journey!

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