As the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness descended upon us, we had a fascinating September meeting as Sarah Calcutt, Operations Director of English Apples And Pears joined us to talk about farming and marketing the glorious apple and pear produce produced in the UK. We learnt about the astonishing advances in fruit farming over the past years, how a new variety of apple comes into being, and even got a sneak preview of three new apple varieties that are in progress, one of which might well be finding its way onto our supermarket shelves in 7 or 8 years time. She was a hugely informative speaker, passionate about her subject and we had some interesting debates about packaging (without current packaging around 40% of produce would end up being wasted through bruising etc although there are major developments around decreasing use of plastic that are ongoing) and the use of specialised equipment to analyse the soil in order to target fertilizer use more economically and ecologically.
A few photos from our last meeting making pretty posies to give to someone as an act of kindness.
For those who missed it see step-by-step guide here https://www.thewi.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/191204/Lonely-Bouquet-Step-by-Step-Guide.pdf
The sun could not have shone brighter for our first joint De Beauvoir WI and De Beauvoir Gardeners Flower and Produce. Everyone I meet who attended has had nothing but praise for the event and how much it brings the community together. If you missed the prize giving (or if you sadly missed the show altogether) we can happily now give you a link to all the winners HERE and a gallery of pics HERE.
Special mention has to go to some of our own lovely ladies who took away some of the top prizes. Justina Kochansky won first prize for her piece of homemade jewellery which was then awarded the Silver Cup for the BEST EXHIBIT in the show. Gillian Rowe won the highly prized Rose Bowl for the highest number of points in the flowers and fruit and vegetable categories.
Other members who did very well include our knitting guru Pamela who won both first and second prize in the tea cosy category. The picture below shows why!
Sara Lawrence got first prize for her cupcakes. Jacqui James was a popular winner in the Dog Show after her gorgeous dog Humphrey (below) wowed the audience with his best trick.
The De Beauvoir Flower and Produce Show (and Dog Show) has been taking place every year since 1979 (at least).
This year, for the first time, WE are jointly organising the show with De Beauvoir Gardeners and this means that we need some help and volunteers. We are not only running the cake stall (domestic delights) but helping with all aspects of the show which is a really lovely annual event – a village style show in the heart of London. It celebrates this corner of Hackney’s growing, creative and dog owning communities and is promoted through local schools to encourage children to bake, draw, grow and make – we even have cup cake decorating on the day.
As well as the usual flower, produce, baking and preserve categories there are new (WI) craft entries as follows:
- For children – A glove puppet made from a sock
and for everyone:
- Greeting card in any medium (e.g. sewn, painting, collage, photograph, crafting)
- A floral tea or egg cosy, stitched, knitted or crocheted
- Homemade piece of jewellery (brooch, necklace, bracelet or ring) on a garden theme
To make this year a success we really need your help in lots of ways:
- Volunteers to help for a couple of hours on a stall.
- Volunteers to help with setting up or clearing up. This includes husbands and burley teenagers to help with the heavy work of setting up gazebos, carrying books and tables – either in the morning or at the end (or both).
- As many individual entries in all categories as possible (we are not doing WI group entries this year) again encourage neighbours, relatives and children to enter too. CLICK HERE to see all the categories so you can start planning your entries now.
- Contributions of nice items for the tombola (bring items to the August and September meetings).
- Whole cakes and savouries to sell on the day.
- Bring your dog along and consider entering the floral fancy dress category.
- Promote the show on facebook or twitter using the links on this page.
- Put a poster up.
We will have sign-up sheets and be available for questions at the August social where we will also distribute posters and leaflets for those who have already signed up for leaflet distribution.
If you didn’t make it to last Thursdays meeting you missed out on the delicious smells of lavender, frankincense, nutmeg, and immortelle. Jane Williams gave us an expansive talk about aromatherapy which started with the history of the art of using scent extracted from plants and spices and ended with members giving themselves a personally scented hand massage. We smelled fresh leaves gathered from Jane’s garden, compared varieties of lavender oils (always keep lavender oil handy for kitchen burns) and discovered how to use essential oils safely. We also learned about how Jane helps cancer patients at University College Hospital where aromatherapy is something that helps relaxation and relieves some of the cruel side effects of cancer treatment.
For those of you who want to buy some oils Jane recommends Neal’s Yard and her own favourite Oshadi.
Essential oils are extracted from plants and spices.
Thursday also saw the circulation of a host of sign-up sheets for the summers big fund-raising events. The first is this coming Saturday when we are running a cake stall at A Royal Knees-up party in Rosemary Gardens to celebrate the Queen‘s birthday. There will be an afternoon of fun for families including a dog show. We are still looking for cakes so email if you can bake, the WI will refund costs.
The knees-up is followed by another cake stall at Party in the Park on 9th July – again we are looking for bakers and helpers on the stall. Lastly (but this is the big one) – we have agreed to co-produce the Flower and Produce show in September alongside the de Beauvoir Gardeners. The show will be a great opportunity to raise our profile in the area as well as fundraise. We are looking for volunteers from members and their families to help make this community day better than ever.
A BIG THANK YOU to all the members who donated items for our Domestic Delights stall at the De Beauvoir Gardener’s Flower and Produce show. We were lucky with the weather and sold out of cakes and deliciousness with only a few small jars left at the end of he afternoon. It was a great fundraising activity for us and will help us pay for speakers in 2016. Not only did we have our won lovely stall to promote the DBWI but we featured heavily in the flower and produce show – and the dog show too! If you didn’t get along to see it here are a few pics and you can see all the winners HERE.
As we head towards September and think about putting away those flip flops there’s still plenty of De Beauvoir activity to look forward to. In particular the fabulous De Beauvoir Gardener’s Flower and Produce Show, complete with Dog Show. Its on Sunday September 13th and the De Beauvoir WI are manning the Domestic Delights stall. Once again we are looking for volunteers to help run the stall as well as donations for sale such as cakes (complete cakes go down well), jams and chutneys, breads, savouries, plus your wonderful crafts such as knitting, sewing etc. If you can help or contribute please email us to let us know.
Please come to the event itself, bring friends and family and enter as many categories in the show as possible. We are hoping that many of you will enter – but do also encourage family and children to enter for their own glory – especially as all the children win prizes! There are prizes for home grown produce (fruit and veg), flowers, flower arranging, art and photography, cakes, breads and preserves – the full list of categories and information on pre-registering can be found HERE.
Lastly bring your pooches for the fun dog show which has become a bit of a De Beauvoir institution – but enter early as the limit is 50 dogs (that means baking 500 dog biscuits for the entrants)!