July/ early August has been frantic for all sorts of reasons.....
At the start I managed to have a proper weekend away down in London which was absolutely brilliant. A very special weekend which involved doing a whole load of things. Involved going to War Horse, the comedy store and going on a power boat on the Thames! Really really enjoyed the break despite not having a moment to relax.
Oswestry Show was in July. This is a show we had not been to before and wow what a surprise! The saturday was brilliant - the sun was out and the atmosphere was very special. The show is in the streets of the town and the whole feel of it was of an idyllic market town. Very well organised and I was rushed off my feet from the word go! Sunday was a little different as around lunchtime the heavens opened... and open they did. It is sometime since I have seen rain like that and the market stall I was under was not quite fit for purpose. I am not sure if any stand could have survived the downpour that we had and coupled with having stock in cardboard boxes the ship almost went down.... The rain aside the show was brilliant and well done to the organisers - we will certainly be coming next year!.
We also went to the Attingham Park Summer Food And Craft Show near to Shrewsbury in July. Not too bad an event - we did ok but maybe not top of the list for next year.
July was a month of doing several trips to the bottling plant which is both time consuming and tedious but an important job to do to ensure the cider supplies keep flowing! We are very pleased how things are going particularly with our new flavoured ciders. They are flying off the shelves and we are only just keeping up with the bottling! We are nowhere near being able to offer it for retail sales or even mail order as we are just keeping up with the show supplies.
July was also the month which involved haymaking. Always an intense time not helped by the shockingly inaccurate weather forecasting. I managed to make about 700 small bales which is no mean feat considering that each one has to be moved 3 - 4 times before it is finally stacked in the barn... The machinery is almost medieval but on the whole things went alright. The baler did pack up however on the last couple of rows. Managed to get them all in just hours before it rained and also just before Burwarton Show which was just as well.
Burwarton show at the start of August is always good fun to go to, not only as an exhibitor but also as a visitor. We were very pleased how the show went and ran out of all sorts of cider. Saw lots of old friends and also potentially picked up some possible new retail outlets. I certainly think that a busy stand helps trade. The next door stand said they thought we were giving away the cider for free, judging by the queues!
A couple of days after Burwarton is Tenbury Show. Perhaps a bit more of a local atmosphere but nevertheless a great day out. Trade was slow to start with and then after lunch it got really quite busy - the foodhall area is quite small however certainly considering the wealth of local food and drink suppliers there are in the area.
I am also trying to glitz up the farm buildings area as we are hosting a couple of parties at the farm in the next month.