Cotna Eco Retreat

Food & Growing

Hand-made Produce

At Cotna Eco Retreat we produce a range of mouth-watering hand-made artisan foods. This includes: sourdough bread, pesto (basil, watercress, rocket or kale), jams, marmalade, chutney & pickles, fruit balsamic vinegar, cordials and harrissa.

Taste of Cotna Hampers are available to pre-order at £10 each (serves 2) and include:

Breakfast Hamper: sourdough bread, organic eggs, home-made jam, milk / butter

Late Arrival Hamper: sourdough bread, salad, selection of local cheeses / dips. (local beer / wine on request)

Garden Taster Hamper: Seasonal fruit & veg picked from the garden, chutney, jam

Italian Hamper: Everything you need to cook a delicious Italian feast

Indian Hamper: All you need to cook an authentic curry, including spices & simple recipe!

Food & growing featured2

Since moving here, we have been learning a massive amount from the land at Cotna, both at a practical level and also in a more reflective way, food & growing now make a vital part of life at Cotna. The land had over the years become depleted from over use, minimal manuring and modern farming methods.

We started by adding as many natural organic nutrients as possible – in the form of mulch, compost, green-waste, worms, paper and cardboard. We also collect manure from neighbours and seaweed from the beach in winter.

We follow Charles Dowding’s ‘no-dig’ approach, which has revolutionised our gardening. This is now bearing fruit; our poly tunnels and vegetable garden are fully productive and healthy, providing sufficient food for everyone who lives and stays here, and our salads have a high reputation locally.

“Soil is the soul of our society. It is where life began – it is where life begins. We treat it like dirt at our peril.” (Sams, Ecologist 2015 No. 288)

Cotna Woodland

Our Cornish woodland is largely made up of hazel, ash & oak, with a lower canopy of coppiced hazel, bluebells & primroses. It provides all our heating for the house, self-catering barn & holiday yurts. This is thanks to Dave’s efforts and the great progress each year on his birthday in December when lots of men and chainsaws come and stay for the weekend. They say wood heats you up three times – when you cut it, when you transport it & when you burn it. Although it seems free & abundant, it is not limitless & does take a lot of energy to produce it, therefore we charge £3 per box of wood.

Seasonal Leaves

We are renowned for our salad leaves.  Cotna’s speciality includes a variety of different lettuces, rocket, watercress, oriental leaves and spinach. We are famous for our beautiful seasonal salad bags, which contain a mix of leaves, herbs and flowers. We supply these to local people through farm shops, pubs and restaurants.

Seasonal Vegetables & Fruit

We grow a range of other chemical-free delicious seasonal vegetables & fruit. These include sweetcorn, tomatoes, aubergine, courgette, squash, beans, peas, celery, cucumbers, apples, strawberries, blackcurrants, raspberries, redcurrants and quince. We supply these to our guests, friends and the local community when they are in season.


Beyond Organic

People often ask, why does food from Cotna Eco Retreat taste so good, like food used to taste? Our reply is, because it is beyond organic! Most food in Britain, even organic, is grown on mineral-depleted land, which minimises the mineral and nutrient level available for the food. The majority of ‘fresh’ food in the UK has travelled hundreds of miles over a considerable amount of time to get to the consumer. The combination of these facts ensures that generally the food we eat is lacking in a number of essential factors.

At Cotna our soil is alive. We use absolutely no sprays or chemicals and our vegetable beds are weeded by hand, minimising the use of petro-chemical machines on the land. Our soil is mulched with compost and organic matter.  We create nutrient-rich earth high in minerals, using seaweed, horse manure, and greens like comfrey, nettles or pondweed. Our vegetables absorb all these benefits and this adds to their delicious taste. It is seasonal, it is slow, it is real food. Our food is carefully sown, grown and picked by hand and locally delivered. This is why Cotna food is even better than organic!

“We can increase production, grow more nutritious food and tackle climate change if we treat our soil as a living entity.” (Kristin Ohlson. The Soil will Save Us)

Delicious Home-Grown Food

Food is a crucial part of Cotna life; the growing, production, cooking and communal eating of it. As a visitor you would be welcome to join us for meals or have them delivered to the (holiday) self-catering barn or holiday yurts, enjoy our seasonal produce to prepare your own meals, or be completely independent. This can be arranged prior to or during your visit. Our food is vegetarian and has a gourmet international feel. We can cater for vegans or provide a juicer for raw food diets. Wild-food foraging walks with a cooking demo & meal can also be arranged.

We Supply To…

Look out for Cotna food at local food suppliers; LobbsHumfrey’sThe Cornish Foodbox Company & The Barleysheaf Pub. We are now supplying the Michelin Starred Driftwood Hotel

What Others Say About Our Food…

Lovely stay, cosy space, beautiful setting. Thoroughly enjoyed spending time walking and eating. Particularly impressed with the unexpected effect of wild garlic! Sourdough bread is best in the west, Sara! Great hosts, many thanks.

Joy & John, Bristol

Amazing space, thank you so much for being so kind and welcoming and accepting during my stay. Sara, I am now addicted to your tomato chutney so I have to come back!

Abigail Palmer

Gourmet international food, yum.

Debbie, The Pilgrim’s Way, Spain

Such a beautiful place and tasty food! Thanks for the perfect breakfast hamper and giving us a piece of your paradise!

Lauren & James

Fabulous setting & fabulous weather! Really enjoyed your salad, fruit (amazing apples), veg & wonderful bread! The perfect fusion of camping pleasures with a proper bed!

Sally & Andy

What a wonderful experience! Thank you for your warm welcome, fantastic food and amazing scenery. 2 nights was not long enough so we will be back!

Lois & Josh x

Fantabulous! Gorgeous space, lovely people and great food.  Friendliest animals, smashing Moroccan stew. Really restful and rejuvenating. Thanks for the lovely hospitality and conversation. Wishing you the very best at Cotna.

Sarah & Rikki