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Cotna Sunday Sessions
These flexible learning sessions are an opportunity for us to share our food & growing experience from our 10 years at Cotna. They are created for 2 people or more, to fit in with all your other holiday activities. All sessions are experiential & practical, though we do also provide recipe or information sheets.
For more information, just give Sara a call 01726 844867 (leave us a message if you get the answerphone and we’ll ring you back as soon as we are able) or email email@example.com.
Walk on the Wild Side
Walk the Cotna Eco Retreat circuit around the 14 acre valley with Sara & Dave, foraging seasonal delights as we go. Learn to identify foods in our hedgerows, woodland & fields. In Spring the bright early greens that fill our hungry gap: wild garlic, pennywort, field & wood sorrel, watercress, alexanders & primroses. In summer the ground ivy, bitter cress, pignut, comfrey shoots, hedge bedstraw, nettle heads. And in Autumn the berries, roots & seeds of the hedgerows; haw berries, burdock root, cleaver hogweed & alexander seeds. After foraging, spend a couple of hours cooking up a storm in the kitchen with Sara, then sit down to a delicious feast, either a romantic one in your yurt or holiday barn or together with Sara & Dave in the farmhouse. You will learn to make delicious dishes such as pennywort canapés, fresh nettle tortellini with wild garlic butter, alexander risotto, flower & micro leaf salad, comfrey shoot curry, sloe chocolate or cleavers ice-cream.
Sundays 3-9pm £35 per person
No Dig Gardening – from Seed to Leaf
We started by growing & selling our organic wild watercress & rocket, then moved on to other salad leaves – mainly all kinds of lettuce but also purslane, mustard, chicory, raddiccio, red orache & Japanese chrysanthiums. We follow the inspiration of the no-dig gardening guru Charles Dowding, and like him we deliver to restaurants, cafes & farmshops across Cornwall. Spend an afternoon with us in the garden, learning how we move from sowing seeds to potting on, to planting out & harvesting. Feel inspired to go home and use the no-dig approach to sowing, growing, mulching & composting!
Flexible times: £25 per person
Home-grown Vegetarian Feast
Sara has been cooking vegetarian food for the past 30 years, and has picked up ideas & recipes from around the world. Since being at Cotna she has loved learning how to cook with the seasons, both wild foods & the food grown in the green gardens at Cotna. Having these limits has opened up a world of ideas & creativity in the kitchen – and at Cotna Eco Retreat people say we eat some of the most delicious food in Cornwall! Join us in cooking up a veggie feast to eat together, or in the seclusion of your yurt!
Flexible times: £35 per person
Sourdough Bread made Easy
Sara learned sourdough bread making with Vicky from Vicky’s Bread, who supply bread from Helston to all over Cornwall. Since then Sara has baked nearly every day & has developed a simple, reliable approach to making all kinds of delicious loaves. Learn the different stages of sourdough baking throughout the day, then eat your own loaf, warm out of the oven, for breakfast the next morning! Back home you will be ready to get going the very next day with your starter levain mix, a Banneton basket & a recipe to follow – you’ll never look back!
Flexible times: £35 per person
Family Forage & Pizza
Come on a children friendly foraging walk around Cotna fields & woodland. Gather pennywort, watercress, nettles and the eggs from the chickens & ducks. Make our own wild pizzas in the pizza oven at the end of the day. Even green dodgers may enjoy nettle pizza – yum!
Sundays 3-8pm: £75 per family
Preserving the Fruits of our Labours
Using seasonal ingredients we will cook up a whole range of jams, chutneys, pickles vinegars & cordials. Go home with jarfuls for yourselves, friends & family to sample! This can combine well with the sourdough bread making session if you have time on your hands!
Flexible times: £35 per person
‘We spent the afternoon on a wonderful foraging walk with Sara and Dave learning about the riches of the hedgerow and land. And we have just enjoyed cooking and sharing the most delicious meal with them and their family in their welcoming home! Perfect! I can’t recommend this strongly enough if you are here – it is a great way to learn about Cotna, your hosts and this heavenly spot – as well as taking home some new ideas, recipes and possibly a pot or two from Sara’s store!’
Julie & Steve
What a harmonious haven of abundance – a treat to be with the elements for a while, feisty though they were at times. Thank you so much for your gentle generosity, attention to detail and care. Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge and know-how. How fulfilling, leaving Cotna with the ability to forage and bake sourdough bread. The whole family has benefitted.
Nic, Graham, Oscar, Toby & Sam
I learned that you can eat stinging nettle raw by crushing them and that you do not eat sorrel from a hedge. I learned that a lot of wild plants are edible!
Bella (aged 8)
Each summer we try to run an annual yoga retreat run by our Indian and Yoga teacher, Vasudev from Kerala. He teaches Sivananda yoga, a flowing style from the South of India. The classes are suitable for people with at least some experience of yoga rather than complete beginners. Numbers are limited to 10.
Please contact us for further information.
Children from the local primary school visit regularly to learn about and participate in land based skills. We provide practical sessions which match topics on the National Curriculum. Example sessions are below:
Healthy Living: Wild Food Walk, on which we collected, identified and drew four different plants (nettle, watercress, pennywort & sorrel). We then cooked nettle pizza, sorrel dip & a salad with raspberry dressing. The children from all classes loved the experience, as did the teachers! As each new class came along, they knew more about foraging the plants as the word spread amongst friends, and even ‘greens-dodgers’ dared to try and even enjoy nettles!
Digging for Victory: The Cycle & Recycle of Life, in relation to commemoration of the two World Wars. We used what could be learned from this campaign as well as the make do & mend idea of minimum waste to look at what we do here at Cotna to minimise and use our waste. This starts with where we put different organic matter to feed dogs, chickens worms and compost. We composted some beds, dug up some potatoes, planted some trees then cooked up some food! We followed a wartime recipe, mock banana cake, and also made leek & potato soup as well as honey and parsnip cake. We used a worksheet to clarify what fruit & veg can be grown locally and what is imported using carbon fuels and the children left with a clear idea of food waste cycles and how delicious seasonal foods can be.
Scarecrow Building Day – to help us with our pigeon problem!
Thank you for giving up your day to teach us and have fun about plants. It was really interesting and the food was one of the best things I’ve had in a long time. You made it interesting so now I can just think of a belly button and it would remind me of the pennywort. Ewan
Thank you for giving up your day to teach us and have fun about plants. It was really interesting and the food was one of the best things I’ve had in a long time. You made it interesting so now I can just think of a belly button and it would remind me of the pennywort.
We had so much fun at Cotna. I learned loads! I learned that you have to grasp stinging nettles tight so that they don’t sting you. Liver fluke can be in watercress if sheep are around. I am very grateful for all the time and care that you took on us. Phoebe
We had so much fun at Cotna. I learned loads! I learned that you have to grasp stinging nettles tight so that they don’t sting you. Liver fluke can be in watercress if sheep are around. I am very grateful for all the time and care that you took on us.
Garden, Woodland & Eco-building Days
Help is always welcomed at Cotna Eco Retreat in return for practical experience of our organic no-dig approach – lovely lunches and organic food to take away! Just give Sara a call 01726 844867 (leave us a message if you get the answerphone and we’ll ring you back as soon as we are able) or email firstname.lastname@example.org