Catch up with Jeremy Dixon of third-generation family business Ochil Foods, a leading supplier of quality Scottish produce to the restaurant and catering trade.
The theme of this year’s Fortnight is primary producer ‘food heroes’ – what does the term ‘food hero’ mean to you?
In Scotland we are incredibly lucky to have such an incredible natural larder, however, without so many of the dedicated and passionate people involved in the sector it would be wasted. A ‘food hero’ to me is someone who adds value to our natural environment and the people and communities that work there, be it an entrepreneurial artisan producer such Anja Baak of Great Glen Charcuterie, an unsung farmer, fisherman, gamekeeper to an inspiring restaurateur or chef.
Are there any particular food trends that you’re noticing with the restaurants and caterers you supply?
There is definitely a trickledown effect; menus detailing provenance are no longer the preserve of high-end exclusive restaurant, but are mainstream. The result is a better quality of product finding its way into more eating establishments across the board.
You work with a wonderful range of Scottish artisan producers and provide a key route to market for them – why is this important to your business?
They are important because they are our business. As described above, all types of eating establishments are looking to improve their menus and add value using Scottish produce. Scottish- produced products now form the bulk of our annual turnover.
Tell us something about your family business that would surprise us
In 1953 my Grandfather was the first person in Scotland to farm turkeys commercially, supplying local hotels Gleneagles and Crieff Hydro with the first batch; both are key customers of Ochil Foods today. It probably won’t come as a surprise, however, but both are still passionate users and supporters of local produce.
If you could encourage the public to do one thing during the Fortnight what would it be and why?
Try some of Scotland’s wonderful natural larder, be it game, venison or shellfish, and support Scotland’s artisan producers.
To find out more about Ochil Foods, visit www.ochilfoods.co.uk and follow them on twitter