30th MAY 2019 - Page 12



12 FARM WEEK
FEATURE
NOVEMBER 09 2017
ruralreality
LABELLING: Getting
ahead of the big
Christmas rush is an
annual pressure for
Patrick Finnegan of
Finnegan’s Christmas
Trees NI – advance
labelling is essential
with so many trees to
handle. FW-1T.
Did you know?
THE fascinating thing
about my extracts from
William Hugh Patterson’s
research into the
meanings, applications
and everyday use of
words and expressions
in the two most north
easterly counties of
Ireland in the late 19th
century is that, to a
surprising extent, some
commonplace spoken
words have remained
unaltered today. His
compilation published
in 1880 with the title
‘A Glossary of Words
in Use in the Counties
of Antrim and Down’,
clearly indicates the
influence of the large
numbers of Scottish
settlers in those
counties over a period of
several hundred years.
This week I continue with
words and expressions
beginning with the letter
‘T’.
“Tod, sb. a fox.
Tomorrow was a year, a
year ago from tomorrow.
Tom pudden, sb. the
little grebe; also called,
‘penny bird’, ‘drink
a penny’ and ‘Willie
Hawkie’.
Tongue, [1] ‘Has a
tongue wud clip clouts’.
‘Has a tongue wud clip
iron or brass’, applied
to a great talker, or to
a person who has ‘a
cutting tongue’.
[2] v. to scold.
Tongue thrash, v to
scold.
Tonguing, sb. abuse; a
violent scolding.
Too big riggit, adj. over
rigged, as a boat.
Took, [1] struck or
caught. ‘A stone just
took him in the eye’.
[2] v. went. ‘They took
down the old road’.
Took off, v. ran away.
Toom, adj. empty.
Tooth. Children, when
they are losing their first
teeth are told when a
tooth is taken out, that
if they do not put their
tongue into the hole, a
gold tooth will grow!”
Useful contacts
q Rural Development Council
028 8676 6980
q Rural Community Network
028 8676 6670
q Rural Support Line
0845 606 7607
q DARD Grants and Subsidies
Division 028 7131 9900
q Post Office Customer
Helpline 08457 223344
q Health Action Zone
028 8772 9017
q Farming Families Bureau
028 7930 1003
BUILDING A BETTER RURAL FUTURE
SUCCESS:
Catherine Daly
Finnegan’s singleminded determination
to create only the very
best meringues has
proved successful
over the years; she
says there’s no secret
to making them, but
creating them is an
art! FW-1B.
Marvellous meringues and
‘Fluffy Meringue’ and ‘Finnegan Christmas
Trees’ are two highly successful enterprises
run by the Finnegan family on their 70 acre
farm at Tullybroom near Clogher in County
Tyrone. Eleven years after his last visit,
Ian Harvey made a return trip to discover
the secret of their entrepreneurial
expansion and evident popularity
J
UST for a second I was
distracted by the arresting
sight of a V-shaped formation
of swans flying overhead across
my driving route.
Concentrating on the twisting and
undulating roads in the hills just
northwest of Clogher, in south Tyrone,
I didn’t have time to study their
breathtakingly beautiful aerobatics,
but it reminded me of something I’d
read about this flying phenomenon.
Apparently the swans fly at slightly
different heights and the birds just
behind and off to one side gain a free
ride from the air squeeze ‘upwash’ of
the wing beat of the bird in front.
It seems that this energy saving ploy
allows each bird to continue to fly
further because they swap places from
time to time, so the leading birds can
always get a rest.
Research has also shown that the
V-formation helps these stunningly
beautiful creatures to communicate
and stay in touch with each other, but
they must stay in time with their wing
beats! Nature can teach us so much if
we’re really prepared to learn!
A few minutes later, having driven
past the Tullybroom cross roads, I
spied the Finnegan’s farm and home
on my left, a red brick farmhouse built
on higher ground just below a series of
hills.
As I drove up the concrete lane toward
the house I passed immaculately kept
grassland on either side and, above and
to the left of the farmhouse, rows upon
rows of Christmas trees were growing
in tidy order on the hillside. I stepped
out of my car at 10am on a weekday
morning, in front of a purpose-built
bakery which hadn’t been completed
when I last called there in July 2006.
“Come in Ian and welcome back,” said
Catherine Finnegan with a beaming
smile as she opened the glass-panelled
back door leading to the kitchen.
“Apologies, I’m afraid I’m just
finishing breakfast, it was an early
start this morning as always but with
weekly deliveries tomorrow it puts the
pressure on,” she added, offering me a
cup of coffee and introducing me to her
two youngest, Peter, who is studying
engineering at college and Elizabeth,
who is still at school.
Catherine’s husband Patrick, who
was on his mobile phone, gave me a
wave as I sat down at the table. This is
a family which always seems to be ‘on
BEST MERINGUES: A stand display of
tempting raspberry and chocolate finished
meringues handmade and created by
Catherine Daly Finnegan in her on-farm
bakery Fluffy Meringue, being offered by
her husband Patrick. FW-1H.
the go’ so I didn’t want to keep them
back for too long.
Catherine continued in between
mouthfuls: “Your timing is perfect
Ian because from next week on, both
Patrick and I with our respective
businesses are building up to the
festive season already.
“The fact that we have chosen two
enterprises which both become crazybusy at the same time never entered
our minds in the planning stages, but
they do say that if you want something
done, ask a busy person!”
Patrick finished his call and then
excused himself to head out to the
farm for 15 minutes, promising to come
back to talk about his trees. Catherine
finished her snatched breakfast and
began to bring me up to date with her
Fluffy Meringue bakery.
“When you last called here I was
baking in a temporary set up in one
of the rooms of the house, but not
long after you left we moved across
the yard into a building specifically
designed for the purpose.
“I’ve two bakers working flat out at
present and it just wouldn’t be easy to
find a quiet spot in the bakery to sit for
a chat, so if you don’t mind we’ll stay
here.
“The Fluffy Meringue is still very
much a family-run business which was
formerly given the brand title in 2005,
but I’d been baking for a local shop for
five years before that.
“It continues to specialise in creating
bespoke, top of the range meringue
nests and pavlova bases, but of course
over the years I’ve added scones,
cakes and many other creations.
“The main thrust of what we sell
HUGE NURSERY: Finnegan’s Christmas
Trees NI began planting in 1992 and now
the growing nursery extends to 30 acres
of the family-run 70 acre beef and sheep
farm at Tullybroom, a few miles north west
of Clogher. FW-1Y.
SPECIAL EVENT: Handmade and
crafted, mouth-watering Lemon Drizzle
cake, edible fruit topped Pavlova, scones,
meringues, iced cakes; a tea tableful to
grace any special event, created by Fluffy
Meringue. FW-1P.
though remains firmly focused on
producing the best meringues it’s
possible to hand craft.
“My take on making a meringue is
where you can go with it.
“The basic ingredient remains the
same, fresh egg white and sugar, but
with no additives or preservatives and
the flavours are extracts, colours are
natural.
“There’s no secret in making a
meringue, but there is an art to getting
it right.
“It’s also all about getting to know

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