As January gives way to February, we’re on the lookout for signs of Spring and scanning the horizon for a first hint of better times ahead. Glad as we are to see the daffodils lining the country lanes, and to feel the sun reach that little bit higher in the sky, patience is still required when it comes to envisaging the welcome and much needed return of hustle and bustle to our little corner of the CAST building.
Will we be open in time for Easter? Perhaps. Flora Day? More likely. Whenever the signal comes, we will be raring to go, and look forward to welcoming you back as soon as we are able to.
Meanwhile, with a lack of news of events, menus or produce to share, we have instead put together a survey of what some of our fabulous team have been up with the extra time that lockdown has given us.
Our second chef, Awen McBride has been busy since the Autumn working the land for a new market garden venture, on a few sheltered, South-facing acres near Cury. In January, he erected a large polytunnel to complement the outdoor beds. Planting out will begin soon, and he hopes to have enough produce ready by late Spring to start a veg and salad box scheme in the local area – so watch this space for more details.
Of course, some produce will make its way into the CAST Café kitchen. And don’t worry, we are not losing Awen to his crops! He will still be cooking his delicious food for us through the Summer and beyond…
Junior second chef, Mollie Goldstrom is a visual as well as culinary artist, and clear links between both creative universes exist in her output. For the last year, she has been working on a series of drawings for a book, Lettuce from the underworld: Minute observations from daily life in West Cornwall, marking points of convergence between local history, ecology, and agriculture. All textual marginalia in the drawings are taken from John Floyer’s Pharmako-Basanos: or the Touchstone of Medicines, discovering the virtues of Vegetables, Minerals and Animals, by their Tastes and Smells (1687), treated as the basis for Mollie’s ongoing sensory scavenger hunt for plant and animal species described therein.
During lockdown, she has also had chance to put together a new website, so do click on the link below to find out more about Mollie’s work.
Front of house stalwart Mikey Croft is a recent Fine Art graduate from Falmouth and winner of the Caroline Sassoon Emerging Artist award. He currently has a studio at CAST funded by the Creative Start-Up grant and mentorship scheme run by Cultivator – a publicly funded organisation supporting the creative sector in Cornwall. So when he’s not working in the Café, he’s likely to be found at work in his studio.
Over lockdown, he’s also been helping Awen with his market garden, and generally sliding around in the mud.
Junior front of house, Amber Brierley, is in the final year of her A-levels. A keen student of literature and writer herself, she has been working on a series of poems throughout lockdown, in her words, “to try and fathom a moment in time which is both a torment and honour to endure… though so much has been stripped away, the mundane experiences, those things often taken for-granted, now have this newfound, deep value as if we are rediscovering them again. And I guess also the feeling that everything is shifting, transforming as we strive to adjust with that.”
Amber has been kind enough to share some of these poems, and we have published a series of four on our blog, which you can find using the button below. Richly imagistic and evocative, and brimming with visceral emotion, we recommend you to take a look by clicking here