Wales Co-operative Centre

Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru

Menter Fachwen’s Christmas plans bear fruit #GoFullCircle

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This blog post is the latest part of our Winter ‘Go Full Circle’ campaign, which is promoting the role of – and encouraging consumers to support – Welsh social enterprises, co-operatives and other community organisations in the run-up to Christmas.
Bug house made from recycled wood

Bug house made from recycled wood

Christmas is the busiest time of the year at Menter Fachwen. It all begins as soon as the blackberries are ripe enough to pick, we need to  pick pounds and pounds to make jam for the Christmas hampers, and this season there  was a bumper crop so that gave us a good start. This year we have focused on the quality and presentation of  our Christmas products; we wanted to get the look just right. The theme for 2013  was re-cycle, re-use and up-cycle whatever we could. Christmas 2012 was a bit of a disaster, on November 22nd three  of our businesses were flooded, this put a stop to a lot of the planned  festivities, but we are not the kind of organisation to cry over spilt milk, or even six inches of mud as it was in our case. We rescued whatever we could from the floods, which included  the old pine floorboards that ran throughout the ground floor of our shop in  Llanberis.

The floor at Caxton House was  damaged beyond repair and had to be ripped out. The joinery business, Craig y s usually 101 things you can make This  year they have made beautiful bird and bug houses from wood that would have  otherwise been destined for landfill. Ty Gwydr, our horticulture business, has been collecting all  sorts of strange objects including empty catering size tins from a local hotel,  after a bit of imagination and decoration they look gorgeous filled with bulbs that were planted up in the autumn. We rescued some old tea cups from the skip  at a disused community centre they are now home to small plants hanging from homemade macramé hangers, how’s that for a bit of retro up-cycling? Everyone was included in the preparations; we grow a lot of  our own fruit and vegetables. We have an allotment, a large poly-tunnel and  small garden.

Menter Fachwen relishWe grow blackcurrants,  gooseberries, raspberries and rhubarb, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and garlic. It’s a real community effort, we have great contacts in the  villages, every year we are invited to pick perfectly good fruit that would otherwise  just fall from the trees. We were asked to pick apples, pears, plums and  quinces from our neighbour’s gardens. These were turned into the jams, chutney  and pickles that fill the hampers we sell at local Christmas Fairs. It’s not all jams and chutneys; at Cafe Padarn in Fachwen they have been making luxury Christmas puddings. These sell well in the cafe and at  the Christmas Fairs; Sally has made over 100 this year. Caban y Cwm Cafe in Cwm y Glo will have made 1,200 mince pies by the time Christmas comes . . . . . . . . They won’t just be just any old mince pies though; they will be Menter Fachwen mince pies, filled to the  top with mincemeat. Some will be topped with cranberries or marzipan, orange  crumble, almonds, lemon icing or a mouth watering mix of the above.

On the 10th of December, at E.B’s cafe in Deiniolen,  they will be hosting a Christmas dinner for 25 regular customers. I know they  are looking forward to a slap up feast. It’s all go at Christmas, and this is just a tiny snapshot  of what’s going on at Menter Fachwen this year. Details  of ‘what’s  on’ at Menter Fachwen and how to join in the fun or buy any of our  products can be found on our website www.menterfachwen.org.uk.  You can also call us on 01286 872 014.

The organisation featured in this blog post is just one of many that you can support. Many more can be found on our Go Full Circle directory. Happy Christmas and ‘buy social’ J

Written by David Madge

December 10, 2013 at 9:00 am

One Response

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  1. Merry Christmas and have a safe and happy new year!

    Brendan Gourmet

    December 10, 2013 at 7:53 pm


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