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Award winning Green Pastures Cafe launches bistro nights

Becky Ferguson and Chef Tim Yeomans of Green Pastures Cafe in Westhill. Picture by Scott Baxter
Becky Ferguson and Chef Tim Yeomans of Green Pastures Cafe in Westhill. Picture by Scott Baxter

With fabulous views of the Aberdeenshire countryside, alongside a mouth-watering menu, it’s no wonder that Green Pastures Cafe has a loyal fanbase.

Fresh off the back of its first bistro night, which boasted a three-course meal, there’s something pretty special about this venue based within Westhill Community Church on Old Skene Road.

Regardless of your religious persuasion, all are welcome to this humble cafe, which was bestowed Best Community Cafe at The Scottish Cafe Awards in 2019.

Green Pastures can be found in Westhill.

The accolade is all the more wonderful, given the fact that Green Pastures was launched with just two members of staff, alongside an army of passionate volunteers.

We caught up with cafe manager, Rebecca Ferguson, and found out why a small venture with soul has big plans for the future.

When was Green Pastures Cafe launched?

It opened in 2014, which seems like a lifetime ago.

I’ve been involved since day one, and we launched in a very different way to what we look like today.

Delicious food is the order of the day.

There were two members of staff, everyone else volunteered and brought their expertise.

The views from the cafe are stunning, how did you come to be on this site?

So we fundraised for this building, and it was designed around the concept of having a cafe here.

We look out over the hills, it was very purpose built.

Part of our vision was to be accessible to everyone, so regardless of whether you’re in a wheelchair or have a buggy, you’re able to come in here with ease.”

The cafe serves both breakfast and lunch.

We’re all on one level. Some cafes can be a nightmare, and you can end up feeling like an inconvenience.

This is a really big open space.

And you’re part of Westhill Community Church?

Yes, but this is very much a community space now.

There’s so many different classes, from Brownies to photography which take place here.

We’re quite far away from the centre of Westhill, and prior to launching there wasn’t really anywhere for people to go despite new developments springing up.

It was a long process to design the building, we wanted to create a facility which turned a church building into a community space.

Have there been some big changes along the way?

We’ve definitely grown and changed.

At the start it was a learning curve. Everyone was doing their best at the time, but it’s a much different place now.

We’re very much about looking at what’s available locally, and thinking how we can make the most of that.

Local ingredients makes for fresh dishes.

Our bread comes from The Breadmaker, our microgreens come from Vertical Shoots which is literally just up the hill.

Our coffee is Naked Bean Coffee, and Peterhead Fish Company parks up in our car park once a week.

Tell me about your menu

So we serve breakfast (from) 10 till 11:30, my favourite dish is pancakes with bacon and syrup.

Our chef, Tim, has been trying to include more vegan options such as overnight oats with coconut yoghurt.

Scones are baked in-house.

Everyone’s favourite on Instagram is of course poached egg and avocado on toast.

Everything is made in house, staff are in early doing baking so there’s fresh quiche and scones every day.

I’ve heard good things about your wee pies…

They were Tim’s creation. Wee pies made with vegan pastry, with lots of different fillings.

Curried cauliflower, for example, I’d say 75% of the fillings are vegan. And then there’s other options like sausage and apple.

The salad on the side isn’t just some lettuce. We have different offerings every week like leek and broad bean, or couscous, chickpea and lemon.

And you’ve just held your first bistro night, tell me more?

It was so much fun, and lovely to use the space we have here.

It was set up in a different way, with candles and fairy lights.

We offered a pre-booked three-course menu. For our first bistro night, we served curried coconut chowder, topped with fish or roasted spiced cauliflower.

This was followed by beef bourguignon which came from Marshall’s Farm Shop.

Humble wee pies have gone down well.

Dessert was sticky toffee pudding, which was actually made by someone who came to us years ago as a volunteer with Duke of Edinburgh.

We’ve managed to keep her all these years. I think part of the fun is that so many members of staff came through the volunteering process.

You won best community cafe of the year in 2019, did that come as a shock?

Absolutely, we are so appreciative of that award because we didn’t expect it.

We had to go to Glasgow and before we knew it, we were up there on stage making a speech, and we hadn’t prepared for that.

Becky has been on board from day one.

People say the best things come from the heart, it was such an honour.

Was the pandemic a challenge for you as a team?

Of course, it was very emotional coming through the pandemic because we were closed for so long.

Our regular customers have come trickling back, so to see them after two years and ask how they have been.

Keeping it simple with soup and a sandwich.

A lot of our regular customers have been coming to us a long time, and they are just the sweetest.

What’s next on the agenda for Green Pastures?

We’d love to extend our opening hours.

We have such lovely customers, and if you ask for feedback, you’ll get it.

And finally, how did you come up with the name?

It’s a long story, the minister and his wife at the time were involved in supporting a woman in the community.

She was having a difficult time, and when she came into the building and looked out at the view, she commented at looking out upon the green pasture.

It’s also a biblical phrase, of course she didn’t know the conversation would lead to this.

For more information, visit their website Green Pastures Cafe or Facebook.