Monday, 25 October 2010

Always the Bridemaid and Never the Bride

So my lovelies I have had a mad 2 weeks and whats more looking at my calender for November and December it would appear that it is going to get worse, I mean busier!  Also looking at said calender I don't have a weekend off till the 25/26th December! are you sure there aren't any markets on those days? what do you mean you don't think that anyone will be out shopping!!!

On 8th Oct I took my National Certificate for Personal License Holders (NCPLH) exam and passed with 39/40, which means that I can now apply for my Personal License to sell alcohol, so the Sloe Gin and Damson Vodka I have been making for the last 2 months won't have to be given to all and sundry as presents but can be sold at farmers markets!

We also on the weekend of 16th and 17th attended a couple of Apple day celebrations, one at Luton Hoo and one at Bromham Mill which were good fun and we had a bonus as the weather was dry too.  We also have tried some Farmers markets that are a little further away from us in Middlesex and the bottom of Bucks and although the markets that we attended weren't brilliant we will try for another couple to see if they perk up any.

On the 20th we attended the Creating Futures Awards in the beautiful city of Ely, I had been shortlisted for the Personal Transformation category, however I didn't win, but everyone kept being nice saying that it is the taking part that counts and that I was a winner to get to the last 5 out of 100 entries but I still wanted to win! but that is just the competitive bit of me!

I have been sending samples off to deli's and farm shop here there and everywhere, and to help me with this I have bought some boxes and cardboard trays from a local company in Luton, so here's hoping that they all decide to place orders!

I think I have an e-book in me that I would love to write telling people what they need to be able to sell food to the public, as the number of people that I have to tell what is required of them to be covered legally is amazing. I have a lady this week who thought that she could make different flavoured oils and not be checked have any sort of qualifications she would just be able to rock up to a farmers market and sell, UH-UHH! they seem shocked when I say that it doesn't work that way.  So watch this space.

So half term as well this week, I have 12yo son away with the Youth Parliament until Tuesday leaving me with the 10yo Daughter and 8yo Son who luckily love Lego and I am sending them down the shop each day to get the voucher for a Lego toy from The Mirror everyday this week, which means lots of trips to Toy R Us to get the toys but they are being good at the minute and not asking for anything else but the free toy, but they have asked for the Playmobil or Lego Advent calenders rather than a chocolate or the paper ones that we have in stock! I think that I like the toy advent calenders but do you know how much they are? the Playmobil are £15 and the Lego £25 do I really love them THAT much?

Anyway I have orders to get out and work to do so I will write again soon.  Please do leave a comment and tell me what you would like to see in my blog, all ideas welcome x

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Scrummy Local Lunch in the Sun

Well I know this must sound terrible that I'm about to brag about my own creation but  I did enjoy the Autumnal sunshine yesterday afternoon sat outside eating my lunch of Fresh sliced Ham from Woburn Country Foods of Haynes West End in Bedfordshire, a nice chunk of Tomato and Rosemary Foccacia from Redbornebury Mill, a generous nobble of Wobbly Bottoms Soft Goats Cheese with Sweet Peppers and not forgetting some of my finest Bedfordshire Pickled Shallots and the end of season favourite Green Tomato Chutney. I must admit though my ploughmans with a difference was simply superb and I felt rather guilty not saving any for my poor hubby who I know would have enjoyed it no end!

Still that 15 minute break while I savoured all the great tastes of some very locally sourced products, didn't stop my mind whirring about all the apple based goodies I could make for Apple Day this Saturday at Luton Hoo and Broham Mill on Sunday where we have a stall.

Better keep this short otherwise you'll all think I live a life of leisure eating scrummy lunches then faffing on the computer.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Jolly Old September

I have decided to make some changes to the business.  I am going to blog regularly, which up to now I have not managed to do, and I am going to do a monthly newsletter, to help promote the business.

Wow September has gone quick and boy so much has happened. Kids when back to school really early on the 2nd, this was also the day that my eldest daughter left home and also the day that I bought the most massive freezer you have ever seen, it is approx 1400l capacity! this means that I can freeze so much raw produce which helps to extend my season by quite a lot.

We went – as visitors – to the Speciality Fine Food Fair, what an eye opener, I obviously spend too much time at Farmers’ Markets as I was surprised by the amount of imported food exhibited there, but it was great to see @Breckland and Heavenly Cakes there.

We also handed in our samples to back up our application for a bursary stall at BBC Good Food Show.  We found out later in the month that we didn’t win a stall, but greats like @brays_cottage and @gowerbrownies did win stalls so big congrats to them.

On the 17 I met up with 2 wonderful people @enhance_me and @susanodev, they really are the very nicest friends a girl could have, the awful thing is through that the miles really come between us with @enhance_me being in Orkney, @susanodev in Kent and me in Bedfordshire! But girls thank you a fab time.
Out this month we had a 4 page feature on the business in the national magazine Country Kitchen.  This was a great opportunity that all came out of a twitter conversation! a big thanks you to @goodshoeday and @rachieGraham for making it possible, this is our first feature in a national and it was a great article – even though I do say so myself.

I went to my usual networking events this month but I also went to a new one set up by @truesilver in Little Wymondly, which was great, just the right balance of free networking time plus 2 speakers and I already have had 1 testimonial and 1 lead from it!

I also attended a knowledge hub networking event at the University of Bedfordshire which was all about Food Tourism.  It was a really interesting evening and soon a new website should be up and running which should benefit all food producers everywhere in England.
My darling OH is slowly getting better he has been off work for 3 weeks with a chest infection.  He has been a very poorly man he also has a severe (doctors words) calcium deficiency so has yummy chewable lemon flavour tablets mmmmmm.

So its October today and Christmas really isn’t all that far away.  This year we will have our usual seasonally preserves like Mincemeat with either Brandy or Rum, Christmas Chutney, Cranberry sauce with Port and this year we will be selling Sloe Gin, Damson vodka, Blackberry Liqueur and Plum Brandy and we want make Brandy Butter too.

I really want to get my making courses off the ground. The first jam making course I ran was really successful but I want to run more, so if you are interested in coming on any – Jam, Marmalade & Chutney – contact me and I will let you know when they are running.  Why not come with a friend and get a discount.

On the subject of running courses I visited a great inspirational lady who runs chocolate making courses in Hitchin this week (@makechoccies).  You know when you just click with someone?  It was just great lady, hubby and I even had homemade warm biscuits! How special did we feel! and on that warm and fuzzy feeling I will finish this edition of the blog.
Vickie xxx