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Busy bees

We are pleased to announce that Cressing Temple honey is now available to purchase from the well house. We extracted the honey from three hives last week resulting in 42lbs of delicious, golden, runny honey which we are selling in 1lb jars for £5  and 8oz jars for £3. Twelve jars were sold on Sunday at the Vintage Fair. The Essex Festival of Food and Drink is next weekend, so don’t delay if you would like some.

The ‘supers’ containing the frames of honey have been cleared of bees and are ready to be taken into the dairy for extraction.

Jan removes the wax capping from each frame with a heat gun.

Each frame is carefully lowered into the extractor where it is held in place by the metal carousel.

Once all the frames are in place David spins the carousel by winding the handle.

The honey is flung out of the frames, hits the side of the extractor drum and runs down to the bottom, where it flows out of a tap, through a sieve and  into the waiting bucket.

Hey presto. Lots of glorious honey from our busy bees who will go on collecting nectar for the rest of the summer, possibly giving us a second crop by the end of August. We must ensure the bees have plenty of stores left to feed themselves through the winter so we will only take a second crop if they have been very productive. All the more reason to come and get a jar now to be on the safe side.

Last week we had a visit from The Woodbridge Society for a tour of the barns and gardens. Despite the risk of thunderstorms in the forecast, the weather was glorious and our visitors were able to enjoy their refreshments, baked on site in our traditional bread oven, whilst relaxing on the knot garden lawns.

Before this they were treated to a tour of the barns, lead by Elphin and Brenda Watkin and a tour of the garden with me.

While this was all going on, Monika was busy baking bread, foccacia and pastry treats in the rather sweltering bakehouse.

For most of the group it was their first visit to Cressing so it was lovely to share our enthusiasm for the site and send them away with a better insight into Cressing Temple’s history and development.

With the hot weather continuing all through the week, the greatest challenge in the garden, once again, was keeping everything watered and alive! The benefits of this are very evident in the veg garden, where the quantity and variety of crops is increasing week by week. Volunteers and staff have been taking fresh produce home and two members of the public visited the plot on Tuesday for a bag of goodies. We ask for a donation to help us sustain the project, so if you would like to try some, come up to the veg garden on a Tuesday and one of the gardeners will harvest a selection from what is available. Each week the Tiptree tearoom is taking a basket of our home grown veg and transforming it into the tastiest, freshest, healthiest food you could get. Why not visit and ask what they are using this week?

And here is one of my favourite soup recipes to get your taste buds tingling:

Spinach and courgette soup

1 Medium sized onion

1 Medium sized potato

1 large courgette

100g Spinach

2tbs oil

Few sprigs parsley

1.2 litres vegetable stock

142ml double cream

Salt and Pepper

 

Chop the vegetables. Heat the oil in a saucepan and saute the onion and courgette until the onion is transparent. Add the potato, spinach, parsley and stock. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before blending until smooth. Stir in the cream and adjust seasoning. Reheat gently.

Bon appetit!

 

 

 

 

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