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”.
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