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A little sparkle from Great Cornish Food Store

A little sparkle from Great Cornish Food Store

At St Eval Candle Company we are proud to partner with so many wonderful retailers. From gift shops to florists, cafes through to garden centres and everything in between. It's so important to support local and shop local where possible, and we want to shine a light on our incredible stockists and share their stories.

The next in our 'Shine a Light' series is Great Cornish Food Store based here in Cornwall. Great Cornish Food Store is a beautiful, independent grocery store, with its own butchery, fishmonger and chef deli and takeaway. Filled with exceptional food and drink from Cornwall located alongside Waitrose, Truro, it’s a food retail-first for Cornwall and Britain. 

The Great Cornish Food Store is owned and managed by Ruth Huxley. We spoke with Ruth to discuss her inspiration, passions and why Great Cornish Food Store chose to stock St. Eval. 

Great Cornish Food Store

Why did you decide to open? Where has it grown from? What is your passion?

“I actually came to be running the store completely unintentionally. I had worked with Waitrose and the other parties involved in devising the concept of a Cornish food hall located alongside their Truro store in my role as a food market analyst and consultant. When they later approached me with the opportunity to make it happen all myself I was very reticent, but when it dawned on me that this could be a different way of doing the work I was already doing, developing Cornwall’s food and drink industry, it began to make more sense.  

Great Cornish Food Store

It was a huge challenge to design, fit-out and staff a 5,000 sq ft store, but I had an amazing team of very talented people to help me. From a standing start in January 2016, with just 4 walls on a building site, we were up and running within 6 months with the beautiful store you see today. Thinking about it still gives me nightmares, but also a massive sense of achievement. It’s everything I hoped that it would be, and has turned into the fulfilment of my passion for helping Cornish food and drink businesses, large and small, to get the recognition they deserve.”

What sets you apart from other shops on the high street?

Great Cornish Food Store

“The store is probably unique in that it’s an independent food shop sitting right alongside a national supermarket, in the same building, with customers moving freely between the two stores.  It means that people can get the best of Cornish produce at the same time as they are buying the rest of their groceries.  Being so close also means that we have to provide top quality produce that is also good value for money. We want to make sure that the store is never thought of as just selling high priced goods for high days and holidays.

 Great Cornish Food Store

We wanted, and we’ve got, a reputation as a place where people can shop and know they’re getting great value for money. We take a huge amount of pride in the quality of the products we sell. We know all the producers personally; we talk to them all the time to know their plans and to ensure they’re up to speed with what we’re doing. We have well-loved and widely recognised Cornish brands on the shelves of course, but we also have many tiny little producers who perhaps only supply us with one product and who might not ordinarily get stocked by a retailer of our size. We like to feel we put the joy back into grocery shopping!"

What was your reason for choosing St Eval Candles?

Earth & Sky St Eval candles

“Although we’re mainly a food store, we still want to sell a limited range of items that aren’t either food or drink. These are carefully selected to reflect our own ethos and values, and all must provide a benefit back to the Cornish economy.  St Eval candles were on our ‘must have’ list from the start and we’ve stocked them since we opened in 2016. They are one of our top selling brands all year round. We love the use of natural ingredients, which produce really genuine fragrances and the quality is just brilliant.”

How is St Eval displayed, used and enjoyed? How does it complement your stock?

-Great Cornish Food Store St Eval display

 

“We have lots of fun displaying the St Eval range. There will generally always be something from the range on our special seasonal display at one of our entrances, and the main St Eval fixture is usually in the middle of the shop floor. One of our favourites for displaying the candles is a giant repurposed cable reel we nabbed from our electricians during our fit-out. It’s covered with hessian and then we pile wooden boxes on top at varying heights, expanding and contracting the pile to match our stock levels.”

 St Eval Moss Folk Pillar Candles

What are your thoughts for the future?

“Well it’s been an extraordinary year hasn’t it, and who knows what the future will bring for any of us?  It’s ironic that we started 2020 feeling more confident than ever, with thoughts just daring to turn to ‘what next’ after four years of successful trading.  Covid-19 has thrown us a mighty curve ball of course, although we’ve used it as a chance to learn more about what’s really important to us – and to our customers.  We had previously intentionally avoided e-commerce because our whole raison d’etre is to reinforce the value of personal relationships and the physical experience of shopping.   However, this Christmas we’re dabbling with some carefully curated gift boxes online and I’m curious to see where that takes us.”

What are your St Eval best sellers and favourites?

St Eval Bay and Rosemary tin candle

“We stock an extensive range, which we adjust seasonally, but the tea lights and tins are forever popular, with Bay & Rosemary and Sea Salt being our top sellers generally. However, last month Tranquillity, normally a marginal seller for us but noticeably more popular since lockdown, outsold Bay & Rosemary for the first time ever.  It’s a measure of the anxiety that’s still around us all no doubt, but reassuring to know that people are finding comfort in new ways.

Ruth, Manager at Great Cornish Food Store

My own favourite fragrances are Grapefruit and Lime, Vanilla and Bergamot and Nettle, and I absolutely adore the new White Christmas pots with the added gold sparkle. We’re expecting to sell more candles than ever this Christmas and I predict these will be this year’s winners.”

Thank you to Ruth and Great Cornish Food Store for their time, wonderful business story and continued loyalty.

#stevalshinealight #shoplocal

 

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Folk - Supporting the Arts

Folk - Supporting the Arts

In this blog series, we wanted to shine a light on the fantastic projects Creative Kernow's FEAST and Re-Ignition programme helps to support. Here are just some of the incredible projects who have benefitted from funding and helped spark creativity, escapism and moments of togetherness when we need it most. 

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Folk - Supporting the Arts | Newlyn Art Gallery

Folk - Supporting the Arts | Newlyn Art Gallery

Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange’s Extraordinary Postcards for Extraordinary Times was initiated at the beginning of the lockdown as a way of keeping in touch with our audience, particularly those feeling isolated, when they couldn’t come in and visit in person.

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Home Grown

Home Grown

Shared stories from our love of gardening, food and sustainability.

As we all navigate these strange times we wanted to bring you some fresh, new ideas and inspiration with a focus on self-sufficiency, taking care of each other and finding our green fingers for gardening.   

Our new recruit Lucy, having grown up on a sustainable community farm, shares her thoughts below as she tackles home-growing for the first time, picking the brain of St. Eval’s first-ever employee, the beloved and wise gardener, Sylvia and also top tips from home-grower and gardening blogger Mark Willis.     

Many of us are spending more time in our homes than ever before so finding a new routine can be difficult which can mean a loss of motivation, however, trying something new could give us the kickstart we need.

Whether that’s cooking a new recipe, decorating your bedroom, trying an online workout or having a go at growing vegetables? There are great ways to be inspired.

 

As the St. Eval team are nature lovers and many are keen gardeners too, we thought we would explore this opportunity and try new things. 

I spoke to Sylvia, St. Evals first-ever employee who is not only an expert candle maker but a wise and experienced gardener, about why she loves gardening.  

"Gardening has so many lovely benefits, not only is it guaranteed exercise and time outside but can also be a great family activity. Gardens are an extension of the home, a place to relax and feel safe but growing can also give a sense of achievement, boosting confidence and self-esteem." 

It's a great thumbs up for sustainability and self-sufficiency too. As well as being empowering and a wonderful way to reduce stress and anxiety, growing vegetables will also help avoid unnecessary food miles which in turn reduced your carbon footprint.

Short on space? Don't worry, why not start a herb garden on your balcony or grow tomatoes or chilli's on a sunny windowsill. You can also regrow some salad ingredients from their roots by placing them in a bowl of water, such as lettuce (see below) or spring onions, just remember to change the water every 2-3 days. 

For the past two weeks, I have been practising what I preach. All the St. Eval Office team are now working remotely so instead of my 30-minute commute home I have been heading out into the garden to get my vegetable patch going. I bought 'Veg in One Bed' by Huw Richards which I have found to be full of useful tips and tricks. I have planted potatoes, carrots, beetroot, cauliflower and chard. 



It’s the first time I’ve ever tried to grow anything and as a keen cook, I’m excited at the thought of picking fresh ingredients to make something delicious for my family! This time has been particularly helpful with switching from working at home to relaxing at home as it forces me away from my desk at the end of the day. I’ve also had a lettuce root on my windowsill for the past few days and cannot believe how much it is growing!  

 

Following conversations with enthusiastic family, friends and home-grower Mark Willis from 'marksvegplot.blogspot.com', I've gathered some tips below:

5 Top Tips for Beginners: Growing your own veg

  • Only grow a selection of high value treats that you really want to eat
  • Try and grow throughout the whole season
  • Don’t overcrowd your bed and organise efficiently
  • Start small, don’t try and cultivate a huge plot of ground until you’ve had a chance to see how much time and effort it takes to keep a small plot looking good and producing well
  • Don’t expect perfect results the first time. Growing good veg needs practice! As time goes by, greater experience will probably lead to better results.

What to plant now? 

Potatoes, Beetroot, Carrots, Swiss Chard, Summer Cauliflower, Kohl Rabi, Lettuce, Leeks, Radish, Turnip, Spring Onions. 

What’s in season now? 

Artichoke, Beetroot, Cabbage, Carrots, Chicory, New Potatoes, Kale, Parsnips, Radishes, Rhubarb, Rocket, Spinach, Spring Greens, Spring Onions, Watercress. 

 

Beetroot Hummus Recipe

Ingredients 

  • 250g raw beetroot (leaves trimmed but root left whole)
  • 1 x 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ tbsp ground cumin
  • Olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Natural yoghurt and fresh dill to serve

Method 

  • Boil the beetroot in a large pan of water for 40mins until tender. When cooked a knife should go all the way in easily. Drain and leave to cool
  • Peel and roughly chop the beetroot flesh
  • Put all the ingredients into a blender, drizzling the oil in until you get the desired consistency
  • Serve swirled with yoghurt and a sprinkle of fresh dill

 I had a lot of fun researching, growing and cooking fresh vegetables and hope you do to. 

We’d love to hear your experiences, questions and any great tips you picked up along-the-way too. Chat with us on social or drop us an email: marketing@st-eval.com 

#stevalhomegrown 

 Enjoy!

 

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