"Bloom in the Park": We took part again this year in this now huge event in the Phoenix Park. Last year we took a stand in the Artisan Food Hall, which worked very well for us. However this year the organisers decided to have a new feature - the Craft Drinks Tent, which was intended as an opportunity for the public to meet Irelands premier microbrewers and craft drinks producers. We pitched our stall here to sell our cider and apple juice, rather than taking a stand in the Food Hall. Unfortunately it worked out very badly for all the participants, mainly because of poor planning by the organisers, and the punters attending Bloom weren't aware of our existence at the event. However we're all hoping it might work out better for 2011, so watch this space!
New Polytunnel Complete: The construction of our new high-roof polythene tunnel is complete! We have planted our small cherry orchard in here. The tunnel will serve 4 purposes for the cherries: firstly, the heat will bring them into flowering and fruiting earlier, so we hope to have cherries nice and early in the summer, when nobody else has them; secondly the tunnel will protect the trees from the rain, which can often destroy a crop by causing the fruit to crack, and by causing disease; thirdly, the tunnel will totally protect the crop from birds, because it seems cherries must be one of the favourite foods of blackbirds, among other birds; and last but not least, the favourable growing conditions will provide the most magnificent sweet succulent cherries! We'll have to be patient though, as we won't have our first crop til summer 2011.
We're also trying an interesting experiment in the tunnel, whereby I will intercrop the cherry trees with grapevines, and train the vines high over the cherries. I'm looking forward apprehensively to seeing how this will work out, as I will have to somehow get up to a height of 3 metres to look after the vines! These vines will be for winemaking, and will consist of the varieties 'Cabernet Sauvignon' and 'Dunkelfelder'.