Like my supper club they’re not going to remain secret now I’ve started talking about them. Mind you, as many who live around here know it takes a little while for people to get hold of new ideas, schemes, initiatives and so on, and although on the one hand I don’t want to be inundated with requests for my services, I also want to make this scheme work and for that I need customers, diners, clients….
So if i tell you about my two favourite ‘secret’ sources (although many locals will already be in the ‘know’) please don’t beat a path to their door, but discretely and quietly find them and ask if they would like new customers.
The Bethesda whole food co-op, haven of hippies and wholefood enthusiasts and fondly described by my crass carnivore friend as ‘the place where you can get a bag of shite for 50p’…shite being rather a lot of beans and pulses and although the 50p is something of an exaggeration, it is still pretty cheap and very environmentally friendly.
The shop is a co-operative, run by local volunteers and its existence is highly dependent on the commitment of those willing to give up their time to work there. It was established in 1979 with a few key members. Orders were originally made by the group and delivered to someones house. Following the success of this in 1984 members clubbed together to buy the shop, which is the one we visit today.
The shop originally opened 3 or 4 times a week, but it ran into difficulty with the loss of key members, disorganisation ensued and there were problems with theft and financial loss. It was only when Dave arrived that the shop began once again to make a profit. There are still key members who take on the majority of the responsibility, Dave opens up, Mike unloads deliveries and Geraldine orders the food (which comes from Survival Foods In Herefordshire http://www.survivalwholefoods.co.uk/)
They are always looking for new members and volunteers.
I love the co-op because it has a spartan quirkiness about it, filled to the brim with ready bagged and weighed dry goods (all done by volunteers), large bottles and containers of Ecover (for which you need to bring your own bottles) and other stuff like Tahini (for which once again you need your own jar). The place is basic and has no airs and graces, it is place to buy, chat and is around 5 minutes or so from my house.
The other treat that I look forward to is Pippa and John’s weekly veg box. The box scheme only runs over the spring, summer and early Autumn months and features a variety of seasonal produce all grown on their smallholding in Llanrug. Boxes generally stop when produce becomes sparse (usually the late winter months) but some veg can still be bought from the farm.
The place isn’t easy to find, the first time I went there I drove past the entrance three times because I thought it was a footpath. I phoned my husband
“does the turning look like i’m about to drive through the hedge into a field?”
“that’s it you’ve found it” He replied
The track was very grassy and I worried that my low chassis, sports model Passat would get firmly stuck on a mound of earth (if anyone could do it, it would be me! It’s a bit of a shit car to own living around here really and it no longer resembles its former pristine self having had one too many encounters with country hazards).
My supper club produce will hopefully all come from there and will of course be seasonal. Now as you can tell Pippa and John have no shortage of customers, but people move on, move away, so they are always willing to take new names.