Feed the Soul

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It’s a slice of wellness in the Dorset downs: Rachael Rowe talks to the sibling duo who have crafted a culinary haven of hearty whole foods

All images: Feed the Soul

Tucked away in the heart of the Dorset downs at Godmanstone, Feed the Soul is a place where people are passionate about whole foods. It’s a well-kept secret – those in the know have usually found it via another friend’s social media post raving about the wonderful salads. The small cafe south of Cerne Abbas on the A352 is a “chilled out haven of healthy food” run by brother and sister Alex and Nick Beer.

Alex (right) and Nick Beer

I was a trained chef, and Nick and I had both worked in hospitality for years,’ says Alex. ‘One day we just thought “we can do this ourselves!” Nick was working in a coffee shop in Dorchester at the time, learning to roast coffee beans. I’d returned from Australia, and had a cake stall at local markets. We had always shopped here at Longmeadow when they had organic fruits and vegetables, so when the cafe came up for rent, of course we were interested.
‘I was 25 at the time, and Nick was 23. It’s a fun location, and we thought: “if we don’t do it now then we never will.” So we took the plunge – that was seven years ago! We started out with a vegan approach, but we have broadened that to simple whole foods and now include eggs and cheese too. We’re both incredibly passionate about organic and whole foods in a healthy diet.

Fresh bread sourdough, using local organic flour, is baked every morning

‘In Australia, the whole food scene is really big – Bondai Beach is health food central. I totally got into it, but when I came home there’s just not that same emphasis here in Dorset.’

Building a community
The eclectic team at Feed the Soul all have other jobs too, Alex says. ‘There’s seven of us altogether
– the two of us plus Josh, Nick, May, Lily and Jo, and we’re all really good friends. Everyone has their
own business too, and works here part time. May upcycles clothing, for example, and Lily is a market gardener working with her mother. ‘We used to grow all our own food, but as we got busier it was harder to manage everything – and I’ve recently had a baby. Motherhood keeps me very busy! So we’ve stopped growing our own, and instead use suppliers like Lily at Edible Acre and also Riverford Organics.

Regular events such as this Indian Night are held at Feed the Soul throughout the year

‘Our bestsellers in the cafe are probably the avocado on toast with homemade sourdough and cashew aioli. We also make kombuchas. Another popular dish is the gluten-free kimchi pancake.
We have daily fresh seasonal salad bowls. If you were visiting for the first time I’d definitely recommend a Buddha bowl, every time. Plus one of Nick’s shrubs – delicious and so refreshing.’ A shrub is a traditional sparkling cordial. The method dates back to the 17th century and involves infusing a cider vinegar syrup with fruits, sugar and sparkling water.

‘We’re hard workers,’ says Alex. ‘People have called us workaholics. But we love it. You never know how
a day will be here – each one is so different. We make everything from scratch, from the peanut butter and the aioli to our own granola. And there’s a health food shop here as well as the cafe.
‘‘I think we have such amazingly loyal customers. Even through COVID we managed to stay open because of our local customer base. It’s a brilliant, friendly community and we’ve made a little haven where people feel safe and happy.
‘We’re very laid-back, but we’re always thinking about the business. I’ve been out of it for a few months because of the baby, but we’re planning for the summer to be fun! We cater for yoga retreats and I’ll be back teaching yoga soon. And we run workshops, including fermentation. ‘It is all about getting people to slow down – this place does that I think. When you are here, the sense of time just melts away.’

‘If you are visiting for the first time I’d definitely recommend a Buddha bowl’

Feed the Soul is open Tuesday to Saturday, from 10am to 4pm at Longmeadow in Godmanstone, DT2 7AE.
feedthesoul.co.uk

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