Many south-west Country Women's Association branches are emerging from two years of lockdown stronger than ever according to Hawkesdale branch member Wendy Habel.
Mrs Habel was in Hamilton for Sheepvention where the CWA Henty group had a stall presenting homewares, crafts, cookbooks and a selection of unmissable baked goods. There was even a cupcake decorating stall for the kids.
"It is very exciting to be meeting face to face after so long," she said.
The long periods of lockdown had been difficult for many members and Mrs Habel said the branches all did what they could to help each other out.
"We were all able to pitch in whenever someone needed groceries or even a chat," she said.
Mrs Habel's Hawkesdale branch managed some significant fundraising at the beginning of the pandemic before the harshest restrictions arrived.
"We were very fortunate in that respect, because those funds helped us through," she said. "You might say Hawkesdale's in a bit of a no-man's land, so we have to work hard to raise funds."
She said membership numbers had been encouraging, with the sourdough-baking trend that emerged early in the pandemic "still going on" and extending to other area.
"I think people have a renewed desire to learn how to do things themselves," Mrs Habel said.
She said price rises were another factor driving interest in home cooking and self sufficiency. "Our Thrifty Cooking book has been really popular."
Mrs Habel said people raised their eyebrows when they read some of the recipes, but not once they'd tasted the results.
"A potato Boston bun is just beautiful," she said.
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