Jennifer’s on-farm Bothy a spot for afternoon tea and sandwiches

Enterprising farmer’s wife Jennifer Tweed has grasped a new business opportunity from the growing interest in afternoon cream teas.

Saturday, 26th June 2021, 6:00 am

Jennifer, who farms beef and sheep at Mossbrook Farm, near Carryduff in Co Down, with husband Moore, has launched The Bothy, a unique tea room, her latest culinary venture, in time for the popular Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend next month.

The initiative at the progressive family farm is in line with the growth in lovers of a good old fashioned afternoon tea of tasty finger sandwiches, scones, delicate cream cakes and fine tea in china cups spreading here from Great Britain.

The growing focus on mid afternoon tea was seen yesterday in what was National Cream Tea Day across the United Kingdom.

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Jennifer Tweed and her daughter Hilary Walsh launch The Bothy at Mossbrook Farm in time for this year’s Bank of Ireland Virtual Farm Weekend

It was the Duchess of Bedford who effectively launched afternoon tea in Britain with cream cakes in London back in 1840. She created the tradition because she was hungry in mid-afternoon. Today, afternoon tea in London and many other parts of Britain enjoys celebrity status. There’s also now a national organisation promoting afternoon tea which has a number of prominent supporters here.

Research also shows that cream teas are now more popular than ever throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. Consumers here are certainly no different with more than 3,000 of us searching for afternoon tea occasions and afternoon tea box deliveries in the past 12 months.

The Bothy, Jennifer’s response to the trend, is based on an Ulster Scots term for ‘a small hut’. She’s confident this new private outdoor space at the farm in Moneyrea will prove popular with customers. It’s already racking up deliveries in the area.

“Our farm is well-known for its outside catering business and our homemade treats are always a firm favourite with visitors attending the farm during events such as Open Farm Weekend,” Jennifer says.

Jennifer Tweed and her daughter Hilary Walsh launch The Bothy at Mossbrook Farm in time for this year’s Bank of Ireland Virtual Farm Weekend

“This is the 10 th anniversary year of the weekend initiative and it has gone virtual again this year, and although we enjoy interacting directly with the public on our farm, it has given us more time to put into launching The Bothy at Mossbrook.

“Sales of our afternoon tea boxes rocketed last year in lockdown and we had customers coming back week after week. We knew there was a market for good quality, homemade pastries, tray bakes and sandwiches using fresh Northern Irish produce, and enjoying it in the beautiful surroundings of our farm’s private garden with a group of friends in the sunshine is hard to beat,” she adds.

The new venture is soundly based on Jennifer’s success in baking and catering with Farm House Treats, her successful baking venture. She’s usually to be found in the kitchen baking up a storm in the traditional way to supply weddings, birthdays and, of course, her three children, Hilary, John and David, and husband Moore with delicious traybakes, biscuits, cakes and scones. 

Mossbrook is among almost 30 other farms here participating in Open Farm Weekend. The Tweeds relish the opportunity to share their farm story with the public, educate them on their ways of working and ensure they have a really good experience at the successful farm. The beef suckler herd is primarily Hereford cross breeds. The sheep side of the farm is also Jennifer’s territory. She purchased a small number of orphan lambs around five years ago.

Good old fashioned afternoon tea at The Bothy

Bank of Ireland Virtual Farm Weekend is taking place this year virtually on Friday 30 July-Sunday, August 1. Members of the public are encouraged to experience their local farm virtually in one of the biggest free awareness initiatives of its kind in Northern Ireland.

Led by the Ulster Farmers’ Union and with the support of Bank of Ireland UK, Asda, Moy Park, NFU Mutual, and the Livestock and Meat Commission, the initiative is celebrating its anniversary with a packed schedule of virtual activities to capture the imagination of families and foodies by giving a behind the scenes snapshot of the local farm to fork story.

This is the second year the Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend will have been delivered in a virtual format. The physical event usually attracts upwards of 16,000 visitors from rural and urban towns and cities, but the new format is attracting a different type of audience.

David Brown, Ulster Farmers’ Union deputy president, continues: “Last year’s Bank of Ireland Virtual Farm Weekend was a runaway success, with the activities over the weekend and the build-up having an online reach of around 250,000. We had viewers engage with us from across the island and far beyond these shores, highlighting our belief that Northern Ireland has a global reputation for high quality food production.”

Richard Primrose, Bank of Ireland UK Agri-Business manager, adds: “The last year in particular has shown how vital this industry is to communities within Northern Ireland and as a Bank we are proud to be showing our continued support.”

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