Almost everything in our main meals is made and cooked on site, using loads of fresh ingredients. Almost all our jams, jellies and chutneys are made in the Othona kitchen, often overseen by ace volunteer Pat Barclay. Honey comes from hives right here in the Othona grounds, thanks to beekeeper, our own Mark James. (And thank you to the person who brought the hives and tended them for several years, Noel Lakin.)
All the year round, many of the green salads and herbs we serve come from our polytunnel. Soft fruit from our fruitcage is delicious and will be even more plentiful as the bushes mature: loganberries, blackcurrants, raspberries, gooseberries and tayberries. Plums, apples from our orchard and hedgerow blackberries usually offer more than we can pick.
Milk and free-range eggs are from the Craig’s Farm Dairy in East Dorset. Beef and mutton sometimes come from organic Tamarisk Farm whose cattle graze between Othona and the sea. Otherwise our fresh meat is always British and mostly supplied by RJ Balson & Son in Bridport. (Butchers since 1515! Britain's oldest family business apparently.)
Fair trade and wholesome
All teas and coffees are fair traded and many organic, supplied by local firm Clipper. We sell a range of fair traded Divine chocolate and Nakd bars. We buy wholefoods, from rice to dried fruit, through the Bristol-based co-op Essentials and a local family business Fruits of the Earth.
We know some people are disappointed that Othona also buys from the likes of Lidl, Morrisons, Waitrose and Booker Cash and Carry. The thing is that we are trying to balance two different criteria. We want to support local businesses – and you can see we do. But we also have a budget to meet and we can't do that without using some of the bigger companies. This is where we rely on our caterer’s expertise as a juggler!
Meeting your dietary needs
We always have an alternative for vegetarians eating with us if meat or fish is served. Please let us know if you eat no meat, no red meat, no fish etc.
If you have a serious medical intolerance to any foodstuffs please make sure you notify us when you book - we can then clarify whether we can exclude them from the menu. With our small kitchen we cannot promise special meals for those on other dietary regimes.
If that’s you, we hope you’ll find plenty to nourish and delight you in what we do serve. Please do bring any supplementary food you are likely to need; ask for fridge space if you need it; but realise that you won’t usually be able to cook it at Othona. We always stock soya milk, wheat-free bread and rice cakes and our local town, Bridport, has various specialist food shops.
We find that community grows from the joy of shared meals prepared with love. :-)
Eco-friendly and hygienic
We use Ecover (or similar) cleaning products and recycled toilet tissue. Our food hygiene rating is 5 stars ("very good"). Our waste water is processed through reed beds and returned clean to the environment.
Made to share
Meals at Othona are co-operative affairs. If you stay with us you'll probably help by chopping vegetables or washing up - which can be fun, not just a chore. Equal sharing and plentiful laughter at the dinner table are signs of community. But as we enjoy such abundance we're also reminded of the injustice which leaves millions without enough to eat. We hope this awareness informs all our thinking about food.