Well, its finally come to pass, the event that no-one really thought would happen but on the other hand had an air of inevitability about it.
My initial musing on Facebook was this:
"If anyone has ever sat down in a meeting or a group of more that a dozen people and tried to achieve a consensus, then you would know just how difficult it is, To do it with 20+ countries is well nigh heroic. The problem with the EU is not the EU but the Euro, a Domesday machine created by Neo liberal central bankers that creates ever-growing inequality and never ending austerity. The EU as a peace project and co-operative endeavor is a noble and great idea which has been hijacked by this corrupt and flawed ideology and presided over the transfer of wealth of the commons into the private hands of the very few. To anyone who thinks that Britain is now free of the hegemony of these ideas and central banking colonialism, you are wrong, you just threw out the best of the benefits of Europe and left yourselves more powerless against the worst ravages of this. And now the dogs of hate, delusion and seperativeness are full of passionate intensity. SO, What to do ? Time to dis-invest from this moribund paradigm of top down electoral politics, organize yourselves locally, demonetize your transactions as far as you can, create local alternative currencies which protect the commons, penalize the accumulation of wealth, and return it to the mechanism of exchange, grow a garden, meditate, be tolerant and engage in the spirit of unity and compassion with your friends and neighbours."
The Beleaguered Pound..
Of course in this moment there are real implications for this business as we are an importer from Portugal and purchase in Euros. To put it into perspective;
At the beginning of this year the pound was trading at a high of over 1.42, currency markets often "buy the rumor and sell the news", so for the last months the pound has seen a steady decline as the currency market and investors divested themselves of GBP positions in anticipation of a possible Brexit. A week before the referendum, the market sensing a remain verdict , started pricing in the possibility and the pound climbed back to 1.30 from a low of around 1.26, The Brexit announcement was obviously a shock to the markets and the pound tumbled 900 pips almost overnight and is still, if not in free-fall, slowly bleeding. I don't expect it to stop till it gets to about 1.15.
That's a massive wipe-out of our profit margin and capacity to trade. So for the moment we will keep our prices as they are, because we are able to and also anticipated some of this. Naturally all importers from Europe are facing the same set of conditions, so it seems inevitable that imports are going to get expensive across the board not only from Europe but worldwide.
However as you can gather our wee business cannot possibly absorb this size of hit so by September we will regrettably be forced to raise prices. We hope that you will still find value in what we do, how we do it, and our offering of the some of the best honey on the planet produced by some very sweet people and happy bees.
Heather honey and Arbutus honey are probably the two varietals most susceptible to the vagaries of the weather. This year the conditions went in favor of Arbutus and entirely against the heather. We had one of the wettest coldest, longest winters on record which meant that not only did the bees find it hard to go and forage, but the excessive rain damaged the Erica heather which we get in southern Portugal, to the extent that out of all our beekeepers who produce it there was not a single kilo of Erica heather honey to be had !
However, fortunately the story does not end there, The mountain regions of Portugal, produce honey from Ling heather, the common name for Heather of the Calluna Vulgaris plant, Typically its a honey I don't personally favor and I think that Erica Heather from the south has a much more pleasing flavour.
Having said which we did find just enough of a Ling heather to last us a year with about 30% wild Lavender, from the northern Alentejo. The presence of wild lavender transformed the taste enough for it to be rich dark and aromatic with a pleasing sweetness. .We will let you know when the first shipment is up. Should be next month.
Tagus river at Vila Velha de Rodão- Northern border of the Alentejo.
So this year we will still be supplying Heather honey but from other plant sources. If you like Ling heather, you will love this version. Earlier this year whilst traveling through the Serra de Estrela mountains in the north, I met a lovely lady beekeeper and cheesemaker who made a Ling Heather with about 20-30% Broom, also a pleasing honey but not in enough quantity to last us till the next harvest. Maybe next year....
Ling heather from the Serra de Estrela mountains