Fine Foods…As I write this it is almost February and I find that following the busyness of the Christmas Season here at Fine Foods, the year is already moving apace.
The jewel in our year is the Bath Christmas Market; buzzing with opportunity, meeting new customers but also many returning for gifts and to stock up empty store cupboards! We all love our shifts on the Market and the ‘family’ feel of being together with regular returning traders, on Abbey Green. From December we’re already thinking about Summer 2019 and I’m booking Shows and Events taking us through until the end of the year. These events are a great shop window for us to share our passion for our award-winning products, tours, cookery courses and bespoke events. I love putting on anything with a difference or a bit of a twist! I’m still cooking for events both here in our Fine Foods Kitchen and at shows and I will have fed 30 hungry farmers by the time you read this. That involves setting up our Meeting Room/Conference facility as well. We have a new Team Member, Donald, and he will be taking on Richard’s delivery role, in addition to Sales. Donald has been a Beekeeper for many years. More about Donald in the March issue! Our newest product, the garlic mayonnaise, went down a storm over the Christmas season.
On the Farm ….In early February, Tom’s sheep will be tucking into the turnip stubble, drilled by Shaun back in September; great for us as they will naturally fertilise our fields! They will munch their way through the lot in about 6 weeks and will be perfectly fat when they leave! The rapeseed plants love the cold and, being part of the brassica family, the frost can sit on the leaves without causing damage. However, we have a big problem looming in the stem of our Rapeseed plants and that is Larvae of the Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle (see below) …laid in the summer/autumn by the beetle which is now eating and growing in the stems of our rapeseed plants!!! In an attempt to reduce this problem we are advised by our Agronomist to graze sheep in our rapeseed fields (known as ‘grazing off’) as an attempt to reduce the damage the larvae are doing to the plants. This damage is unseen until you pull up the plant and slit it open; the damage from the munching larvae is very apparent! However, we have yet to see what the outcome will be as regards our yield this year; this is as a result of the neo-nicotinoid seed dressing ban! We have to wait and see. The joy of farming! Our wheat is sitting beautifully in the fields, lush and green; and you can just see the drill lines. However, the wheat and rapeseed are still in hibernation and will be for another few weeks. Shaun has been out hedging assisted by Ben and is likely to be doing some ditching as well. When I’m out walking, I love to see the neatly trimmed hedges. A real skill! Both Andy and Shaun still walk the crops regularly, even when in hibernation, as a keen eye is vital. Steve, our Agronomist, plays an important part in advising and working alongside them throughout the year, ensuring we have as successful a harvest as possible! Steve is a vital member of our team!
Lizzy Etheridge / Andy Fussell - Production | Sales | Events | Hospitality