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by Maria Gran, The Courier

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What started as a small coffee hut has now turned into a 40 foot shipping container hosting street food nights. 

From what was an "utterly disgusting" shipping container, Eilidh Smith and the Morton of Pitmilly team now host popular street food nights. 

The Kingsbarns resort houses 16 self-catered holiday properties, a swimming pool, tennis court, gym and spa, all on a working farm. 

Since Eilidh launched the holiday destination in 1990, she has continuously added on bits and pieces for guests to enjoy.

Five years ago, she got a coffee hut to serve hot drinks and pastries in the morning. In the evening, it was a bar when food vans came by for pop-up events.

The food nights grew popular, but had to stop during lockdown.  With the return of larger events, the food vans didn't have the time to return to Pitmilly as well. 

"I saw this as an opportunity for us to take the food side of things in-house," says managing director Eilidh.

"We bought an old office shipping container, it was utterly disgusting.  We stripped it back to bare bones, put three hatches in and kitted out a kitchen and drinks area. 

"As of end of September last year, we started playing around with it."

Morton of Pitmilly food nights have it all

On weekend morning, the hatches have been up for coffee and breakfasts, while street food nights have been on every now and then.

Over summer; smoothies, pancakes, rolls and yogurts are available Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 9.30 am to 11 am. 

Themed food nights, from burgers 'n' beers, to Mexican and Asian cuisine, are on twice a week over the summer holidays. 

Eilidh says the decision to host the pop-ups was a no-brainer.

"If you're on holiday and you can go and eat pizza and have a few drinks on site, of course you're going to do that," she says.

"You don't need to drive to St Andrews or cook for that evening"."

As well as guests, the pop-up nights are popular with locals who come along from nearby villages. 

When Pitmilly is fully booked, it houses around 80 guests, and a busy food night sees around 100 people stop by.  Each event is advertised on social media, usually three to seven days in advance. 

The seating is al fresco - but there are sheltered areas just in case - and if it's a bit nippy, Eilidh will get the fire pits going.

Big plans with homegrown produce

As a working farm, Pitmilly has polytunnels with raised beds growing vegetables, an orchard and hens.

Eilidh says: "The plan is to grow as many of the ingredients as we can for our food nights.

"We grow heaps of stuff, not on a large scale, but more like a market garden. The aim really is to become as sustainable as possible."

With cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, aubergines, melons, peaches, nectarines and more on hand, there are countless recipes the team can cook up. 

Any surplus fruit and veg goes into boxes that guests or locals can buy.  Last year, there was an honesty box at the end of the driveway, and now the team has plans to make it even bigger. 

By moving the produce closer to the food truck, Eilidh can create a refrigerated farm stand where visitors can pick up vegetables or eggs after a food night visit.

And that's not the only thing on her agenda for Morton of Pitmilly.

"We have a lot of apples, I had a go at making cider myself last year, but it didn't quite work," she says.

"This year, I'd be keen to tie up with a local cider company, give them our hundreds of apples and see if they'll do some cider we can sell from the pop-up. 

"I also want to put in beehives at the farm. We've got a lot of flowers and biodiversity, so the next obvious thing to do would be to get some hives and have our own honey.

"For the food nights, I would love to invite chefs in.  The menu will be totally different, focusing on the person coming in to guest chef."

Morton of Pitmilly team make magic happen

Helping her run the holiday resort, Eilidh has a team of 10 full-time equivalent staff, around 16 in total. 

Thankfully, the team are as enthusiastic as her about bringin new ideas to life.

"It takes a lot of energy to stay on top of it all," admits Eilidh.

"It's pretty wild, busy and full on, but I've got a great team and we all work together.

"All the crew get as excited about the creative additions we put in as I do. It's great to have a bunch of fold working for you who want to see the place get better and expand."

She has built Pitmilly by adding things she enjoys when going on holiday, and that's how she plans to keep expanding the resort. 

The farm setting means there's plenty of space and fresh air for guests to enjoy themselves, and for Eilidh to add new surprises for returning guests. 

She say: "The fun for me as a business owner is putting in place things that our regular guests notice weren't there last year. 

"With the food nights too, we're getting a nice rotation of what we're offering so you're not always getting the same.  

"It's absolutely stunning sitting looking out across fields and woodland areas."