2015 Flashback 1: The ProjectsThursday 31st December 2015
This year has seen some big changes at our base in Pembrokeshire. As we got bigger towards the end of 2015 we made the decision to move the Mermaid’s Grotto.
Still in Pembroke Dock, we made a new home in January of this year in Warrior Way. Our landlord Richard, was very understanding of our needs to accommodate the mermaid team and allowed us to change office space into kitchens and paint everything blue and yellow!
Here we are at the end of the year and we’re still expanding and changing. Most recently our gigantic new seaweed processing kit arrived from China and we were forced to put a hole in the wall to get it in. Our lovely neighbours at Upton Farm and Talbot Timber did some rather beautiful synchronised fork lift driving to help us manoeuvre the kit into place. Our in house handy man (Jonathan’s wonderful Dad) Martin is working tirelessly to get everything up and running ready for the new year right now.
Speaking of Martin we’ve roped him into all sorts this year. One of our favourite Martin jobs was the transformation of an old local clinker boat into a slick exhibition display stand. The lovely Eleanor helped with this project too.
We exhibited at various food retail trade shows with the boat throughout the year, mostly in London. We’re proud to say that over the last twelve months we managed to design, develop and produce three new products for the retail side of the business. Captain Cat’s Ship’s Biscuits were launched in the spring and just in time for Christmas we pulled Castaway Sea Herbs and The Mermaid’s Larder out of the lobster pot. Athena, our in house product development executive (Jonathan’s lovely Mum) perfected the recipe for our fantastic new cheesy crackers (along with the cakes at the trailer which she made thousands of throughout the summer). We’re pleased with the look, taste and originality of the new products, The Mermaid’s Larder is tipped to be one of the years ‘best new products’ in Fine Food Digests ‘Best Brands’ edition of the magazine.
Athena also helped us with our foodie photography shoot back in the spring by cooking up some very photogenic dishes. Owen Howells did a great job taking snaps for us and Martin helped make sure there wasn’t any waste after the shoot was over…
I think it’s fair to say however, that the most notable project of 2016 was the successful installation of solar and wind energy equipment on the Café Môr trailer which lives out at Freshwater West beach all summer. The project, funded by The National Park means that the mobile catering unit works without power from a noisy generator. Instead enough energy from the sun and wind at the South West Pembrokeshire beach is produced to power the freezers, fridges, till and radio each day. The Café Mor trailer is tucked in at nearby farm each night and it’s on board batteries are topped up just in case!
Cosmetically the trailer underwent some changes too, including lots of new signage. It’s not unusual to see paint pots on the floor of the office or outside in the yard as our signs are changed and updated almost every time we go to a festival. We also spent some time playing with scaffolding this summer in preparation for the festivals we attended and served food at. Our signs are getting bigger year on year and need the extra support!
We catered at a total of 16 festivals and events this season, that means we made an empty, often outdoor space into a fully operating kitchen sixteen times, and then we packed it up and took it away sixteen times too, no wonder the mermaids are so muscly…
As if this wasn’t enough we’re also working on a top secret project and have been for some months. Find out what it is in 2016 when all will be revealed!
by Dock Rock