21st June marks the longest hours of daylight in Northern hemisphere countries, known as the Summer Solstice it’s an ancient celebration of light, fertility & summer. I mark my year by the seasons, living seasonally means what I buy, eat & cook with changes each month, the way I live changes, spending so much more time outside during the longer milder days & the seasons also have a large impact on my mood, clothing & yes talking about the weather, that much loved British pastime. As much as I may complain about our unpredictable weather, I really love the fact that in Britain we have distinct seasons.
On the Solstice, also known as Midsummer, the sun reaches it’s highest altitude of the year & here in Kent we can expect about 16 hours of daylight, more in Scotland & closer to 18 hours in Scandinavian countries. The Pagan festival of our ancestors was superseded in the Middle Ages by Saint’s days in the religious calendar that saw bonfires lit. Personally I can never think about the Summer Solstice without the classic film the Wicker Man springing to mind. Folk music, fertility rituals, naked women leaping over flames, pagan traditions & that giant bonfire…. Or of that famous Kent family the Larkins, living the idyllic tax evading life in deepest Kent.
But back to reality, MightyFineThings & Coxy’s Kent Liqueurs are both businesses rooted in nature, we use Honey from local Bees & fruit from the farms that surround Faversham. The famous Faversham cherries are well on their way to ripeness, all they need is time & just a little more sun. So in our own way marking this Midsummer point, is a moment to stop & contemplate just how lucky we are & wonder in what ways could we protect our local environment more?
It’s no coincidence that national picnic week coincides with the solstice, taking advantage of the extra long days, means beach BBQ’s & creek side impromptu picnics become a feature of my summer. My own ritual in recent years has been to sit on the beach & watch the sun set into the waves (skinny dipping is optional, just remember the towel!🤭).
With a picnic packed in a cool bag of course, my perfect Midsummer night picnic includes Coxy’s Lavender Gin & tonic or a few bottles Boutilliers craft beer if there’s no ice. Homemade MightyFineThings Sweet Chilli & honey sausage rolls, the last of the asparagus crop (if we are lucky) griddled & made into a salad with a MFT Spiced Apple balsamic dressing & shavings of a hard sheeps cheese like Manchego, crisps, cheese, crackers & salted almonds. Or maybe a BBQ, my own modern day fire ritual, with MightyFineThings Sweet chilli, soy, garlic & ginger marinated king prawns and burgers in brioche buns topped with our Raspberry vinegar pink pickled onions & a generous spread of Kent honey & Cider Mustard. Sounds perfick 👌🏻.