The smell of fresh bread wafts over Culrain every morning since the Breaking Bread honesty box first opened its lid at the start of this year.
Located in front of Culrain Hall, the box is filled daily around 10:30 with fresh baking like sourdough, baguettes and cakes, made at home by some of Culrain’s residents. The box is emptied every evening between 18:00 and 19:00. Come summer, with the long evenings, the box will be open longer for evening hikers and strollers.
Since the first lockdown, Culrain resident Marieke shared her Saturday baking with part of the village as the ‘Culrain baking fairy’ every saturday. So, when her neighbour, Kristina Fonseca told her that she dreamed of having an honesty box for her baking one day, the pieces quickly came together and they decided to ask the hall committee for permission to put a box in the Hall grounds.
“We figured that together we could keep it stocked with a mix of things, some savoury and some sweet. This way we can also provide baking to more people than I could, going around hanging bags with cake from people’s doors, and it is a nice reason to go out for a stroll. Not to mention that it saves us from having to eat all our baking ourselves.”
Lockdown and charities
With their baking they initially hoped to save locals some trips down to the shops and raise a few pounds for charity. To their amazement, the honesty box was instantly popular, despite the icy weather and knee-deep snow at times. As a result, they’ve had to bake a lot more loaves and cookies than they originally planned. But they’ve also raised more funds than they ever thought they would; in January alone they were able to make donations of 50 pounds each to Silver Fox dog rescue and Culrain Hall.
Like many small charities, Culrain hall isn’t receiving the funds it normally does due to Corona restrictions. Any other year, Ceilidhs and other social activities bring in enough money to pay for the hall’s running costs. Without this, the hall will soon run out of money for basic things like water & electricity.
Not everything has gone smoothly. For example, the snow and ice made the box wetter than expected. Luckily plastic boxes can keep the bakes safe and dry for now. The hot weather in May and summer will also be a challenge, but the bakers are taking it one day, and one season, at a time.
Spring is peeking around the corner now, and the egg laying season is slowly getting started. From this week, the box temporarily hosts the egg shed that is a little further down the Strath in normal times. Every Wednesday and Saturday the local, fresh chicken eggs are added to the box. And to the baking. The ladies hope to add fresh greens from their garden too, once the weather warms up some more.