Goodbye Astrid! We will Miss You!

Our very own, prolific, dependable, delicious, hard-working, generous, and big-hearted Astrid Bellem will be moving to Ontario on or about April 24th, and will be leaving a very large void in the bellies and hearts of all Mayne Islanders who have come to know her and rely on her stellar abilities in the kitchen.

As Joni Mitchell said, “You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone”, and I’m afraid there will be very many residents, weekenders, part-timers, and tourists alike who will bemoan Astrid’s absence from the food scene on our hungry little island. “Where’s Astrid?” will be a question raised on so many lips longing for the pleasure of her loving creations, and at so many events where she has become a stalwart & reliable provider of appies and baked goods for the masses.

Astrid’s long-time presence at the Saturday Farmer’s Market might be her most well-known public face as a go-to stall for a never-ending array of yummy baked goods – cookies, tarts, squares, cakes to name a few as well as some delicious savoury items such as her ever-popular Jamaican Patty, which even Chris Bennett (our resident Jamaican) said was, “pretty damn good, man”.

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But what many Islanders may not be aware of is Astrid’s foodie presence at so many essential functions and fundraisers. She has provided food, through her home-based business – Astrid’s Kitchen –  for the M.I. Conservancy, M.I Little Theatre, the Ag Society, the M.I. Art Society, art openings at Shavasana Gallery, the Food Bank, Farmgate Store, she has also made countless at-home meals for clients & friends, and, almost single-handedly helped raise $24,000 for St.John Point with a series of fundraising dinners held at Tim Hurley’s home…all in her humble manner.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of participating in any of her irresistible food offerings at the above events, you may have encountered her smiling face at the many Mayne Island businesses which employed her over the years: The Gas Station, the Post Office, the Springwater, the Mayne Inn and the Farmgate Store. Like most worker bees on Mayne Island, Astrid has worn many hats. What you might be surprised to learn, is that before coming to Mayne Island she had worked for many years as a Reproductive Endocrinologist – I’ll let you look that up 🙂

For me personally, Astrid’s parting will hurt doubly, as I am going to miss her good friendship (and her irrepressible border collie JC!), and her services as the provider of wonderful cookies, squares and other baked items, and fabulous catered foods for Art Openings at Shavasana Gallery & Café. Her and I have had this friendship & business relationship since early 2014 when both of us were still relatively new to the island and I have come to rely on her culinary skills, and dependability. Each week, as I was closing down my shop and doing inventory, I would text her my order for the following week, and they would magically be waiting for me in the “secret place” when I arrived to open up. She never missed an order – not once – and often I would be the delighted recipient of her “samples or extras”…sigh…these will be big shoes to fill.

I’ll miss you Astrid! Wishing you safe travels as you head across Canada to your new home in Douglas, Ontario! With Love –XOXO

 

 

Shavasana Gallery & Café Update

I thought it was time to do a little “shout out” to friends of Shavasana Gallery & Café and anyone else who follows my website or Facebook link to let you all know what’s happening with our 2020 season, which was scheduled to begin in early May.

Wow…what a difference a few short weeks and months can make in all of our lives. First, I just want to send all of you some good wishes for personal well-being during this unprecedented time. The pandemic has been creeping up on us but now it has arrived and I’m sure that you and your loved ones, like me and mine, are doing their best to follow these new strict rules for self-isolation and social distancing that will – hopefully – keep us all safe.

A few photos from previous art shows we’ve had at the Gallery – from our non-socially distant recent past 🙂

With regards to Shavasana Gallery & Café, I am following Federal & Provincial guidelines as long as they remain in place, and am respecting the requests of full-time residents of Mayne Island that anyone with a second home – like myself – remain in place until this crisis has passed. With all of this being said – I really do not have a clear picture of when I will, safely, be able to re-open. As of this writing (April 4), May is looking more and more unlikely so I’m hoping for a June opening…if conditions allow 🙂

I’m missing Mayne and all the terrific friends I’ve made there over the last 7 years! I look forward to this storm blowing over so we can all return to some semblance of normalcy, and sit together over a cup of coffee, surrounded by beautiful & clever art. Til then…here are a few more photos from happier times. 🙂

Weekly jam sessions, Saturday meditation group and various events and visits…

I miss you all!