Case Study: The Kindness Bakery

Can you tell us a bit about your business?

Since 1947, we’ve been making the tastiest products from our traditional craft bakery in the heart of the Scottish countryside. Traditional recipes handed down from generation to generation, baked with pride using the very best in local ingredients.

What has been the biggest lesson you have learned over the last few years?

The biggest lesson we have learned is to have a diverse range of customers. You shouldn't be relying on only one sales channel.

And what opportunities are you looking forward to grasping in the coming years?

One main opportunity for The Kindness Bakery is to increase the customer base yet further in all sales channels.

What is your favourite thing about Scotland’s food and drink industry?

It's easy to be Scottish. We have a great door to quality, diversity of ingredients and ideas and we are loved all around the world.

Why is it important for consumers to support Scottish producers?

Many Scottish food and drink companies are SMEs who rely on Scotland for most of their sales and the loyalty of Scottish consumers. In return we continue to innovate and offer value for consumers to remain loyal. Buying Scottish allows producers to increase their local workforce which benefits the local economy. We also tend to buy locally again supporting the local economy which benefits us all.

Finally, how are you celebrating this Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight?

This year, we will be celebrating with local beers and whisky and maybe a wee bit of shortbread!

Case Study: Feragaia

Can you tell us a bit about your business?

Feragaia is Scotland’s first distilled alcohol-free spirit made from land and sea botanicals. Feragaia’s process combines time-honoured distillation techniques with pioneering innovation. The delicate flavours of flowers and leaves combine with the earthier notes of root botanicals and spices to create a complex and layered drink. After launching in 2019, we are now selling across the UK and into international markets.

What has been the biggest lesson you have learned over the last few years?

During these strange times, we have learned that face to face contact is much more valuable than through technology of over the phone or email.

And what opportunities are you looking forward to grasping in the coming years?

We are currently selling products in two international markets so we are looking forward to expanding our export opportunities. There are also plans in place for operational expansion at our head quarters here in Fife.

What is your favourite thing about Scotland’s food and drink industry?

As Feragaia uses 14 botanicals from both land and sea, our favourite thing about the industry is the quality of natural ingredients that we have at our finger tips here in Scotland.

Why is it important for consumers to support Scottish producers?

Rural jobs are very important to all regional communities, and Scottish producers support so many of them directly, and indirectly.

Finally, how are you celebrating this Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight?

We will be celebrating Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight with a local drink, and a local meal!

Coasts and Waters: The British Seafood Cookbook launched as part of Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight

Christopher Trotter, co-author of the classic cookbooks The Whole Cow and The Whole Hog provided a focus for this year’s Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight with his new book, Coasts and Waters: The British Seafood Cookbook, which was launched at Welch’s Fishmongers in Newhaven today as part of Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight.

The book contains over 50 recipes using Christopher’s beloved native Scottish and British seafood as well as guides on choosing and preparing fish, and how to buy the freshest produce.

Coasts and Waters: The British Seafood Cookbook - Christopher’s tenth book – cleverly combines recipes for fish by their season with local ingredients which are also at their seasonal best. There are recipes for the more familiar cod, sole and haddock, but Christopher is an ardent supporter of less well-used varieties such as megrim, hake and sea cat.

In addition to the recipes, Christopher encourages readers to incorporate more native British seafood into their diet as a delicious, healthy and sustainable source of protein and to support the nation’s fishing industry whose markets have been significantly disrupted by Brexit.

Coasts and Waters: The British Seafood Cookbook was produced with support from Native Hebridean Salmon.

Ahead of the publication of Coasts and Waters: The British Seafood Cookbook and Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight 2021, Christopher Trotter said:

“This book was motivated by three converging factors: our local fishermen need a market now that it is more difficult to export to Europe.“We should be eating more fish landed from our own waters – the top five fish consumed in the UK are tuna (which isn’t even from British waters!), Pacific prawns, haddock, sole and salmon, whereas the top five landed by weight are mackerel, herring, langoustine, haddock and cod.”“2020/21 is also Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters, a celebration of Scotland’s famous coastline and inland salt and fresh water bodies.”

Su Cox, Communications and Business Development Director at The Scottish Salmon Company, said:

“We’re delighted to support Christopher Trotter’s ‘Coasts and Waters: The British Seafood Cookbook’, which inspires readers to consider using more native British seafood, such as our Native Hebridean Salmon.  “The creativity and simplicity of the recipes show there are easy ways to cook outstanding meals quickly and from fresh fish sourced from within a few 100 miles."

M&S backs Scottish Suppliers with biggest ever Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight campaign

M&S is reaffirming its ongoing commitment to Scottish suppliers and bringing the best local produce to customers, with the launch of a fortnight-long in-store campaign during this year’s Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight (Saturday 4th-Sunday 19th September).

Customers will feel a stronger in-store presence than ever before, with a celebration of the very best of Scottish products inside stores and out.

M&S will also be hosting in-store sampling sessions between 11am and 5pm at selected stores across Scotland, including M&S Gyle (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 9th, 23rd, 24th, 25th), M&S Aberdeen (17th) and M&S Paisley (9th, 10th, 11th, 16th, 17th, 18th). Other stores include M&S Straiton, Bridge of Don Aberdeen SF, Elgin SF, Inverness, Perth, St Andrews, Union Square Aberdeen, Braehead and Uddingston SF. Customers will be able to meet local suppliers Associated Seafoods and Dawnfresh, who supply M&S’s Scottish Salmon and Trout, to taste the best of Scotland, including M&S’ Mild & Delicate Smoked Salmon, Kiln Roast Loch Trout Fillets and Loch Etive Kiln Smoked Trout.

A bold, paid social media campaign across Facebook will also be launched in Scotland, which will feature M&S produce from across the food hall in a series of product carousels, and will link to the retailer’s online Scottish editorial page, with supplier profiles, stories, recipes and more.

M&S has also announced a stronger range of rewards and personalised offers exclusively for Scottish customers who are signed up to its digital-first loyalty scheme, M&S Sparks, throughout Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight.  M&S Sparks will send dedicated offers directly to Scottish customers, including 10% off Scottish products such as shortbread, trout and salmon, honey, porridge oats, haggis, oatcakes and oat biscuits.

David Bates, Regional Manager, Scotland at M&S, commented:

“We have worked with brilliant suppliers across Scotland for over 100 years to bring our customers the very best the country has to offer all year round. This year’s campaign shines a spotlight on the lengths these suppliers go to across the country to deliver exceptional quality M&S Food, during one of the biggest events in Scotland’s food and drink calendar.

“As well as in-store tastings and bigger, better M&S Sparks offers, we are going bold across all areas of our Foodhalls – hero-ing 100 years of supporting the best Scottish suppliers through new signage, branding and event zones. We will also be publishing a special Scottish-themed edition of our What’s Fresh magazine for customers to pick up in-store, featuring some of our fantastic Scottish suppliers from M&S Select Farmers. These include Robert Barbour and his sons Graham and Scott from Crailinghall Farm in Jedburgh, Burton’s Biscuits and colour-changing gin expertly created by The Old Curiosity in Edinburgh.”

Case Study: Bruichladdich

This case study is brought to you in association with Burness Paull.




Bruichladdich has a very distinct image, can you tell us a little bit about how it got to where it is today?

Mothballed by previous owners, the distillery company was resurrected in 2000 by two former wine merchants, a distilling legend and a group of independent investors. From the beginning they were very clear that the company should be wholly based on Islay, ‘local’ would come first. Not just employing local people but sourcing as many ingredients and goods as possible on Islay. The idea was to conceive, distil, mature and bottle Bruichladdich whisky on the island, with authenticity, provenance and terroir at the heart. In 2003 the company started to engage with Islay farmers to grow barley for production, which was the first time this had happened since before the war. The driving force for this was of course the pursuit of terroir and flavour, but it was to have huge positive implications for the local economy – Bruichladdich effectively supported agricultural farming on Islay and created employment in the process. To put it into context, without this initiative from the distillery, it’s probable agricultural farming on Islay could have disappeared entirely. Beyond farming, with our distilling, maturation and bottling facilities all on Islay, Bruichladdich is (and has been for almost 10 years) the biggest private employer on the island, which is incredible to think, given the number of other distilleries on the island.

Has sustainability always been at the heart of the business, or is it a more recent shift?

A lot of projects today are ‘born green’, but it can be a harder transition for larger established (in our case Victorian) operations to fully embrace the sustainability challenge. Our earliest foray into renewable energy began as early as 2009. We installed an anaerobic digestion plant which we hoped would be both innovative and a huge success. However, for a whole host of reasons, it ended up being very expensive and inefficient / ineffective - so we had to write it off and go back to the drawing board. We would go on to consider more than a dozen different green energy options in the years that followed. In 2019, live on air on BBC Radio Scotland, I ‘declared’ we would decarbonise distilling operations (scope 1 & 2) by 2025. There was a lot of surprise with that commitment - both inside the company and externally - but it was to be a turning point for our sustainable energy mission, in terms of making us work harder to find solutions and it held us accountable! It certainly opened up some interesting conversations, and we ended up partnering with ITP Energised to scope out the possibilities that were open to us and most likely to be successful. This culminated in us applying for the UK Government’s ‘Green Distilleries Competition’, which is focused on testing and developing cutting edge renewable energy tech in the distilling sector. Technologies that were unproven but transferable and scalable. We were successful in the phase 1 applications and were awarded around £70k to fund a feasibility study on hydrogen combustion in the production of whisky, this remains ‘work in progress’, but is evidence of the very exciting thinking going on here at Bruichladdich (and indeed right across the sector just now). Of course sustainability is not just about energy. Social sustainability is also part of our agenda.

The parent company of Bruichladdich is global drinks brand Remy Cointreau, how much input does it have in the distillery’s sustainability work?

We have been very lucky. Remy Cointreau places ‘Responsible Growth’ at the centre of its global strategy and we are 100% supported on our sustainability mission. The Group has social and environmental initiatives underway all over the world and has declared a series of stretching targets over the next 30 years. The whole senior team at Bruichladdich and in Remy Cointreau are committed to our global climate action plan.

Which sustainability initiatives at Bruichladdich are you most proud of?

Certainly things like the Hydrogen project, but also The Botanist Foundation (est 2015) and our One Tin Lighter campaign (launched 2020). The one I’m most proud of and possibly one of the most ambitious though, was our journey to become B Corp certified. On a trip to New York in 2016 or 2017, I got talking to someone about B Corp and it really spiked my interest. It sounded like the way we ran our company was very much the way B Corp businesses ran and if we could demonstrate this successfully through the application process, accreditation would be validation of Bruichladdich’s existing ‘values-led’ principles. It was quite a tough sell initially because at that time, we had limited resource with lots going on and this was going to be a high workload project to get accredited. But after some head scratching, we were able to allocate time and with the help of an external resource, we were finally accredited on 20 April 2020. There are only six distilleries globally that had achieved the status at the time, and we are the only whisky and gin distillery in Europe to meet the stringent standards of social and environmental performance. We are the only Scotch whisky distillery in the world to be B Corp certified which makes us all very proud.

Do you think governments are getting it right in terms of policies and support for sustainability?

There have been some ambitious targets set by governments and countries alike, but one, they may not be ambitious enough, and two, we are not tracking well against these targets globally. I believe infrastructure, collaboration and funding / subsidies still need to catch up with the ambition. Political issues, such as Brexit and the Scottish referendum, and the Covid pandemic have in many ways overshadowed the climate emergency for us in the UK and concerted efforts on sustainability have perhaps suffered as a result. With COP26 here in Scotland on the horizon we have a chance to reprioritise and focus our efforts.

ESG is a concept that has been building momentum for a while and has really come to the forefront during the pandemic. Where would you say Bruichladdich is on its ESG journey?

Becoming B Corp certified was a turning point, providing tangible evidence for investors in our parent Group. It also unlocked our legitimacy in exploring other sustainability initiatives. But it also made us think more clearly about our vision, our values, our people and their development, as well as the partners we work with. It’s important to have metrics in place so you can measure yourself and assess your progress, so we created a sustainability baseline and a scorecard to enable us to do this each year. Looking back, we have had a strong ESG ethos for years having created the Botanist Foundation Community Interest Company in 2015. The Botanist Foundation supports a variety of social and environmental programmes from educational bursaries to conversation research. For the last two years we’ve partnered with Botanical Gardens Research International (BGCI) to fund conservation projects in 5 continents. Closer to home we are looking at regenerative farming and sustainable agriculture on Islay. For this to be successful we need to build trust, lead by example and create a market for the crops in rotation. We bought a small croft for research and development on Islay to help share the risk and give proof of concept. We need solutions which allow us to pursue growth, but not at any cost, if we want to futureproof the global economy and environment. No one has all the answers to that yet, but it’s about being open minded and committed to doing things differently. That’s what we’re always striving to do at Bruichladdich, to ensure that every aspect of our business – from agriculture to energy and community to workforce – works together to build a more sustainable future.


Read more of the Burness Paull Tales from the Larder series here.

Case Study: The Buffalo Farm

Can you tell us a bit about your business?

The Buffalo farm was born in the spring of 2005, and we now have a team of over 80 staff. We have developed into a full butchery business which includes a retail outlet and traditional butchery counters, wholesale catering supply, an event and private catering business as well as an onsite cafe, milk bar and fish shack. We not only cater to the everyday consumer, but also to local cafes, shops, restaurants and hotels.

In July of this year, we became the first producers of Scottish buffalo mozzarella and buffalo ice cream which is such an important aspect of our business. We've assembled a world-class team to produce a world-class Scottish Buffalo Mozzarella, strengthening our farming team, bringing in expert cheesemaking skills and bolstering our commercial operations. We wanted to create a product which put Scotland on the map and could be considered as being world-class.

What has been the biggest lesson you have learned over the last few years?

I think the biggest lesson I have learnt is that with a lot of hard work and determination you can achieve your goals. It is sometimes difficult to let go of the reins of a business that you have built from the ground up and put your trust in the hands of your team to grow the business alongside you but with communication, trust and perseverance, anything is possible. Taking a chance and not letting fear of the unknown hold you back and certainly listening to your customers.

And what opportunities are you looking forward to grasping in the coming years?

I think growing the business as a whole but also establishing Scottish buffalo dairy products as a staple in this country. Mozzarella is what buffalo milk has been famous for, but we very much look forward to producing other top quality products made from buffalo milk. We will focus on striving for perfection for the quality and consistency of our mozzarella. If this all goes to plan, then it may not just be our farm that will have buffalo roaming the fields of, but several others throughout Scotland.

What is your favourite thing about Scotland's food and drink industry?

I think it sets us apart and makes me proud to play a small part in what is an amazing larder. And it's not just provenance, it's the fresh green grass, the clean waters, but most importantly the people, knowledge, history, great passion and love that shines through in many of the products.

Why is it important for consumers to support Scottish producers?

I think there is a great variety of products available to the consumer that have been grown and created in Scotland. I think it important to support local home grown products because it can facilitate shorter supply chains, which can support small rural areas and provide a good connection from farm to fork. We are so spoilt in Scotland with our choice of meat, fish, shellfish, freshly grown fruit and vegetables. For Scotland to continue producing great quality products, it requires the support of the consumer to carry on purchasing locally.

Finally, how are you celebrating this Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight?

Personally, I am loving being able to eat out, something I have missed hugely over lockdown. From a business perspective we are very excited to have our products on the shelves of Aldi as well as being listed by 2 very prestigious Scottish distributors in the form of IJ Mellis and the Cress Company. We have been using our social media to bring the Scottish Food and drink fortnight to everyone's attention and have launched a couple of competitions to celebrate.

Case Study: Mara Seaweed

Can you tell us a bit about your business?

Mara is a mission-led, social, environmental and health impact company. Our mission is to bring seaweed, Scotland’s sustainable superfood, back to the table and open it to the world, all while doing good for the planet.

We produce a range of award-winning healthy shake, stir, or bake in seasonings, all of which are healthy, tasty and good for the planet. We also produce an amazing seaweed butter. They are easy to use as an everyday seasoning, high in umami (which basically makes everything taste even more delicious) and a great way to reduce your sodium salt intake and improve the nutritional value of your dishes. It’s a natural superfood. Our production company harvest several seaweed species in the East Neuk of Fife and we turn it into all sorts of strips, seasonings, flakes and powders.

What has been the biggest lesson you have learned over the last few years?

It’s been a difficult year but through the pandemic, people have learnt to experiment when it comes to cooking at home, people have become more adventurous and want to try new ingredients. Social media gives us great insight into the people who are becoming real advocates for our products and how they’re using them - we can see there’s genuine momentum building given how passionate people are about using seaweed to make their meals tastier and more nutritious.

And what opportunities are you looking forward to grasping in the coming years?

We want to work alongside other ethical, forward-thinking brands. A few months ago, Orkney Craft Vinegar released a product infused with our smoked dulse powder which sold out very quickly. This shows the opportunities available in collaborating with other brands, something we plan to do a lot more of in the coming years and is something to really celebrate through the Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight.

We are excited about our plans for significant sustainable growth, we’re working hard on product development and have plans to significantly expand our range…. watch this space!

What is your favourite thing about Scotland’s food and drink industry?

We’re proud to be amongst a wealth of pioneering Scottish producers and food and drink manufacturers. We recognise how lucky we are to live in such a unique place. Particularly when it comes to the incredible Scottish coastline and all that it offers – health, wellbeing, and delicious tasting seafood like seaweed.

Why is it important for consumers to support Scottish producers?

Supporting Scottish producers is in our favour for the future. The pandemic has really made people think about the world, climate, and their local food chains. This is great news for our natural environment which has a huge impact on people’s health, the planet and profit and is central to Mara’s mission to nourish body and soul.

Finally, how are you celebrating this Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight?

We’re highlighting “ten ways with seaweed” on our social media channels to remind people of the well-known and perhaps less obvious ways to bring Scotland’s sustainable superfood to the table.

Case Study: Macphie

This case study is brought to you in association with Burness Paull.



Can you give us an insight into how Macphie has grown and changed over the years, and what has driven that?

Two things have been really key. Innovation and a rock-solid commitment to family values have always been at the heart of the company. That has always encouraged a very forward-looking ethos, with decisions made for long-term benefit. Diversification has always been pursued to ensure we stay ahead of the game and we can react quickly to any shifts in the market. Maintaining our values has been important too, it has helped retain both loyal clients and staff which has been vital to helping us grow over many years. That approach to fair dealing in every part of the business is something we refuse to compromise and indeed wish to build on all the time. Achieving the scale we now have with sales of £60m today, having originally been a very small family business, would simply not have been possible without the efforts of so many of our people.

Has sustainability always been at the heart of the business, or is it a more recent shift?

It really has been an integral feature of the company for a very long time. In 1974 we began treating the effluent produced on the farm so it could be put to use in a sustainable way. Ever since there has been a constant push to ensure we minimise the impact we have as a business on our environment. We’ve not always got it 100% right, but it’s always been high on our agenda. For example, in around 2008 our heat and power bill shot up due to the energy crisis and hit nearly £1million. That got us thinking about renewable energy options like biomass and turbines. We looked at installing a combined heat and power plant based on schemes in Denmark and Switzerland, but joining all the dots was a real issue at the time. Getting buy-in from local authorities and third-party suppliers to make it work was an issue. Sourcing funding was also a challenge in the early days too, so we had to be really creative in our approach to getting backing in our bid to be more sustainable. In 2009 we received a Forestry grant and installed a 1.2Mw biomass boiler to produce steam to cook food. In 2014 we installed wind turbines at Glenbervie to provide power for the factory and feed into the national grid. Now we are 100% renewable energy-powered - with about 70% coming from our own infrastructure and systems. We have also been very proactive in trying to reduce plastic waste, and we're constantly trying to chip away at all aspects of our footprint across both our farmland and manufacturing.

Which sustainability initiatives at Macphie are you most proud of?

There are many, but possibly the biggest ongoing project is being one of the first UK companies to gain B Corp certification in 2015. It all started when an opportunity arose to work with Unilever. They were really keen to understand our CSR strategy before they gave us any business. It was them who suggested gaining B Corp status would be a very good idea if we wanted to work with their brands like Ben & Jerry's, who placed a very high degree of importance on sustainability. Frankly up until that point I’d never heard it mentioned in UK business circles, but we took their advice and became one of the first 50 or 60 companies in the UK to achieve it. However, it is hard to achieve B Corp and maintain it. The assessment is rigorous and leaves no stone unturned, but the topics it addresses are incredibly relevant and gives our customers the confidence that we don’t just talk the talk when it comes to doing the right thing for the people and places around us. It provides a structure to hold people within the business to account, and very much open doors to new opportunities from a new business point of view, attracting like-minded business partners. I firmly believe B Corp should be the required standard companies are held to in the next five to ten years from a sustainability standpoint.

Do you think governments are getting it right in terms of policies and support for sustainability?

There has certainly been some positive progress in recent years in terms of the innovative technology being produced by the private sector, which is becoming more efficient and cost-effective all the time. The right noises have been made in political and legislative circles, but the reality on the ground is somewhat different. For example if we could store more of the energy we produce we could use more of it, but storage technology is not quite there and neither is the financial support to kick start it as far as I can see. We have also been looking at options around using hydrogen for heating purposes, but the finance and regulatory support is not there yet for that either. That impetus has to come from government and the banks being much more forward-thinking and helping those who wish to invest for the long-term.


Read more of the Burness Paull Tales from the Larder series here.

Lanarkshire Larder: Producer Case Studies

Lanarkshire Larder Regional Food Group was established in April 2021 and is made up of local food and drink producers, food retail and hospitality venues. Get to know some local producers from the case studies below:


The Wee Farm Distillery

The Wee Farm Distillery is South Lanarkshire’s hidden gem based on the McKerr family’s farm in the village of Climpy near Forth, South Lanarkshire.

The first craft distillery in South Lanarkshire, established in March 2018, is a one woman operation run by Jenny McKerr on the livestock farm, along with her husband and three daughters. It’s the home of Drovers, Clydesdale and Farmer Strength Gin as well as over 30 traditional made gin liqueurs.

Over the last 4 years they have worked hard to diversify the farm by renovating former milking byres to create the distillery, The Distillers Cottage self catering holiday let, and Steak & Still Farm Shop which sells naturally reared native wagyu beef, homegrown lamb, marinades, cheese and lots more local produce.

The McKerr family are passionate about connecting the consumer with food and drink production and open their farm gate to visitors who also want to source local produce and enjoy rural areas respectfully.

The Wee Farm Distillery has been nominated in the 2021 “Diversification Innovator (SMALL) of the Year Shortlist” by the British Farming Awards.



MacDuff 1890 sourced top quality produce from a small selection of farms whom which we have worked closely with for generations. Supplying tender, succulent and ready-to-cook beef, lamb and pork to high-end butchers and chefs in Scotland, England and further afield. To name one butcher in particular, MacDuff Butcher, our first ever butcher shop which we launched last month in Edinburgh.

Recently we have sourced the fantastic Easycare Salt Marsh Lambs for the first time. These lambs live out on the Wigtown links, Dumfries & Galloway, and have the most natural life, grazing the beautiful Salt Marsh grass. There is no intervention at all, other than a gentle walk into the paddock when the high tides are due.

Another unique product we have recently had in is Native Shetland Lambs, which have a protected designation of origin. All the lambs come from pure bred Shetland flocks raised on the isles.

Onto pigs - we regularly get rare breed pork in but most notably we recently had our first KuneKune pig arrive at MacDuff HQ. These pigs are slow-growing and take their time before getting saddled with piglets.

Lastly, we recently had a visit to Dunlouise farm who's native Aberdeen Angus' bull genetics trace back to 1968 and they are the only farm in the world to hold genetics for all 9 original Aberdeen Angus families. It took Geordie and Julia, of Dunlouise farm 12 years of persistent searching to finally acquire all 9 families left in existence. This rare and valuable breeding was almost completely extinct. We look very forward to getting some of these beautiful cows in the near future.

Sustainability and animal welfare is at the heart of all farmers we work with. We continue to work closely with a hand selected number of farms whom are either Pasture for Life certified or Soil Association certified. To name one we work with who is certified by both bodies is the fantastic Fife Dexters. As well as Robert's Dexter cattle, we also get in their rare breed sheep including the Boreray (aka the Hebridean Blackface), Castlemilk Moorit and the Coloured Shetlands.

Last month, we opened up our first ever butcher shop MacDuff Butcher within the Bonnie and Wild market, St James Quarter, Edinburgh. Alongside our core beef and lamb range, plus our weekly speciality/rare breed products. We also source seasonal pasture-fed chicken and turkey from Herb Majesty Farm in Perthshire, wild game, hand crafted charcuterie, highland wagyu and vegan burgers made with locally sourced ingredients. We launched 'The Butchers Cut' experience last Wednesday with our neighbours Gannet East within the market, to offer customers the chance to come to us, choose from a beautiful selection of steaks we have on offer and have John, head chef of the Gannet, cook it up for you. This is a unique concept that has never been done in Scotland before using top quality, grass-fed meat.


What’s Fresh

Ross Neilson hails from a dairy farming background near Glasgow. His two younger brothers and father run the farm while Ross chose a career in renewable energy, and recently completed an MBA at Alliance Manchester Business School. The Neilson family started milking cows at Park Farm in 1965. Since then, three generations have developed the business, and What's Fresh signifies the next step in promoting sustainable agriculture and showcasing local produce.

Consumed by 98% of households, milk is worth over £4.5bn in the UK, yet farmers are often paid less than the cost of production. The aim of What’s Fresh was to overcome this parity in pricing by retailing directly to consumers.

In March 2020, when the first Covid19 lockdown was announced, the business plan was quickly adapted to include a wider range of local producers. An online store was created and populated with fresh, local goods from several suppliers, delivered together in one drop.

With the success of this service, Ross is now looking to push ahead with the original plan; to process, bottle and deliver the farm’s milk as part of the offering.

Having secured start-up funding from the government’s FPMC grant scheme, as well as private investment, What’s Fresh is currently building a new processing facility on the farm. Fresh milk will be the product to drive the doorstep business and the new dairy building will allow on-farm processing and packaging, and act as a ‘hub’ to distribute orders. A ‘Just Eat’ style app will be developed to allow users to purchase goods from local suppliers; adding value for the customer, increasing collaboration, and enhancing the ‘support local’ ethos.

The renewed doorstep delivery service will initially cover South Lanarkshire and surrounding areas; with a population of over 1 million people within a 10-mile radius of Park Farm.

Business markets such as coffee shops, hotels and restaurants have also been identified as potential customers, who are increasingly looking for quality, single-source produce.

Ross hopes to fully launch the business in early 2022.


Old Mother Hunt Rum

Creating Our Own Future

In March 2020, my husband got made redundant as a pilot. There was no warning, no furlough, and no second chance... just redundancy. I wasn’t working at the time as his hectic schedule and lack of family nearby meant that childcare for our two young children was prohibitively expensive. Two weeks previously we had moved into a new house and over night we went from enjoying decorating to full on panic. We were both applying for every job going but with no success- the economy was crashing and it soon became painfully clear that we weren’t going to get a job. As well as the obvious financial impact, our mental well being took a battering. Matt had never been out of work before and I was shocked at the rapid decline in his resilience and general outlook on life. We both struggled to fight the rising hopelessness and keeping our children safe and protected from this reality was a huge motivator. I thought we’d done a fairly good job, until our little boy found a penny on the floor and gave it to me saying I could use it to help keep the house. My heart broke and swelled in equal measures.

We made a decision that night that we should dare to dream big and that maybe as we had no career or anything to lose, we should try to start our own business. We’d always talked about how great it would be to work together, to manage childcare together, and to organise our work around our family life but always after a glass, or two, of wine and never with any real conviction. We no longer had the luxury of day dreaming about it and we had to make a change in our lives or we would drown in our problems. We knew we had to create a pandemic proof venture and we were inspired by how creative the local craft spirit businesses had been throughout lockdown. The gin market is absolutely saturated and so we decided to try our hand with rum- it’s a fascinating spirit bursting full of flavours and I think people are ready for a change. We make our rum from scratch by ourselves which is unusual in the UK. Learning how to make rum has been the silver lining of a very difficult year as we both love it and we’re so lucky to have found a new passion.

It was an incredibly bumpy road just to get to launch day as neither of us had ever started or owned a company before, let alone dealt with the inner workings of Excise Trading, but it has been so rewarding to learn as we go and develop our knowledge and experience. We’re only at the beginning of our journey and I cannot wait to see how far we can go.

Born in Lockdown. Enjoyed in Freedom.


Hillhead of Covington

William and I moved to Hillhead of Covington in 1996 with the aim to start a dairy farming business. With both of us from farming backgrounds we knew the hard work and dedication required to run a dairy farm. William started with 50 cows and breed with these cows to build up the herd. The Covington herd of cows was established in 1997 and through learning and practice and advice from experts the herd now has 400 healthy cows. We have continued to invest in the facilities and environment for the cows to ensure their long life of health and happiness. The cows are milked 3 times every day and we continue to strive to manage these cows the best we can.

We have always drunk our own fresh milk and we love it! However when the milk is sold on and leaves the farm is goes through various processes which change the texture and taste of the milk and most milk that is available for shoppers no longer resembles the initial product.  In more recent years milk has lost its popularity with milk alternatives stealing the limelight. We have put so many years of hard work, dedication and love into producing milk that we wanted to turn this around.  Milk is such a highly nutritional natural product.

In 2020 we decided to invest in a batch pasteuriser and two milk vending machines. The milk can be pasteurised at lower temperatures so that the natural texture and taste of the milk is not spoiled.  Pasteurising at higher temperatures is quicker but it changes the properties of the natural milk.  We pasteurises a batch of milk straight from the cows every day. The milk is then chilled and transferred to the milk vending machines. Our milk is not homogenised, so the cream will rise to the top.  Our Daisy milk vending machines are made in the UK and have the additional benefit of being able to mix and dispense milkshakes. Our milkshakes are mildly favoured as we didn’t want to overpower the milk with extras. Milk is the main event!

As farmers and carers for the environment we are all very away of the mountains of single use plastic used in milk retail so we have provided glass bottles with screw lids that can be purchased and reused over and over again by our customers.

Since we launched our Cows of Covington Milk and Milkshakes and opened our milk vending machines in February this year, we have been delighted with the response. It’s great to hear customers say ‘its milk just like it used to be’, that’s exactly what we were aiming to provide! It is also great to see so many young people appreciate milk and milkshakes.

Our milk vending machines are located In Brownlies of Biggar, 107 High Street Biggar ML12 6DL and at The Milk Hut at Tinto Hill Tearoom, Carlisle Road, Thankerton, ML12 6PD.


Langloch Farm at CCI

Clydesdale Community Initiatives (CCI), is a charity based at Langloch Farm just outside Lanark, supporting people who face barriers to inclusion, to make a contribution to their community.

We believe that individuals should be valued for their interests, abilities and contribution and not defined by their disabilities, illness or disadvantage.

Our award winning social enterprise empowers people to learn new skills, improve their health and wellbeing and most importantly to see themselves (and be seen by others) as active members of the community.

We do this through person-centred training and support in a range of vocational environments such as horticulture, conservation, woodworking, botanics, food growing and preparation, and cooking.

In addition, we also co-ordinate the Community Food Growing Network which supplies in-season, locally grown fruit and vegetables to the Clydesdale Food Bank.

Our onsite Tea Room and Gift Shop, “The Barn” showcases all of CCI’s social enterprise Woodcraft and Botanics products as well as our range of Langloch Farm Chutneys. Our Chutneys are created using local ingredients (many from our onsite growing areas) by the Food Group in our Community Kitchen. They also feature on our Tea Room menu!

In fact our homemade soups, sandwiches and array of homebaking, use local ingredients and produce grown on site at Langloch Farm wherever possible.

Our menu is set to expand further when our new Tea Room extension opens this Autumn, allowing us to introduce more people to our social enterprise. (All proceeds go straight back into the charity). We are open seven days a week from 9.15am to 4.45pm.


Jackton Distillery

Jackton Distillery is home of award-winning craft spirits RAER Blended Scotch Whisky and RAER Jackton Gin. Our picturesque distillery is quietly nestled in the nook of rolling fields on the outskirts of East Kilbride in the Scottish Lowlands. Born from the dream of three generations, we began our pursuit of Single Malt Scotch Whisky perfection in 2020, laying down our first cask on the 12th of February. We are an exiting, new, independent craft distillery with big ambitions.

Our family run business has worked extensively to source the best casks from all over the world including the renowned Château de Chambord estate and the finest vineyards in France, Portugal, and the Madeira Islands as well as scouring America and Jamaica for those much-loved Bourbon and Rum finishes, along with sweet Amontillado, Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez sherry casks from the subtropical Jerez region of Andalucía to offer our customers an unparalleled range of RAER craft spirits to enjoy. The spirit in our casks is beginning to soak in all the flavours from the oak that surrounds them and whilst we give our own casks time to mature, we have launched the award winning RAER Blended Scotch Whisky, which is rich, warm and alluring with hints of citrus and sweet caramel, delivering satisfaction from the first sip. An easy drinking spirit to enjoy neat, or the perfect base for your whisky cocktails. We highly recommend mixing with lemonade and fresh lime or ginger beer and cranberry – simply delicious!

Named after the village in which it is produced, RAER Jackton Gin is expertly handcrafted in small batches using nine carefully selected botanicals of the highest quality and pure Scottish water. Rich essential oils extracted from juniper berries during distillation form the earthy, piney base of our gin. A delicious combination of mango and sea buckthorn deliver a fruity, citrus tang, followed by warmth from the pink peppercorns creating a juniper led gin with a fine balance of pepper and fresh, fruity notes. It is best enjoyed poured over plenty of ice, topped with refreshingly light fizzy tonic water, garnished with a squeeze and slice of lemon. Our stylish bottle is sure to stand out in your drinks cabinet.

Jackton Distillery is still growing, and we are in the process of building our own on-site maltings facility, as well as bringing the production of neutral grain spirit in house. This month we are excited to be harvesting our very own barley and wheat and we are well on the way to providing you with a true grain to glass experience. Sustainability is of the utmost importance to us; we use recyclable packaging and continually take steps to be as eco-friendly a distillery as possible.

Our RAER team have great pride and passion for the spirits they create and are involved in every part of the process. We also take the hassle out of gift buying, as every bottle is hand wrapped in tissue paper, secured with natural raffia and given the RAER seal of approval before being sent off to its final destination. We are even offering 10% off all orders using promo code: fooddrinkfort at from the 4th - 19th of September 2021, what better excuse to invite family and friends over to create some #RAERmoments and enjoy some delicious gin and whisky cocktails?

From our home to yours Slàinte mhath!

Case Study: Nuisance Drinks

Can you tell us a bit about your business?

At Nuisance we make premium, sparkling botanical soda mixers inspired by the British countryside. Sip or mix – each of our drinks can be enjoyed either by themselves or mixed with some of the finest spirits around.

We launched the business by making nettle cordial foraged from the 6,500 acre Hopetoun Estate in West Lothian. This year we extended our range and rebranded. We now have 3 flavours:

  1. Wild Bramble & Rosemary
  2. Wild Nettle
  3. Mint, Cucumber & Chilli

What has been the biggest lesson you have learned over the last few years?

We've learned that things won’t always go smoothly but it’s about how you respond to your mistakes and not to let them get you down that matters.

And what opportunities are you looking forward to grasping in the coming years?

The next couple of year's hold a lot of opportunity for us. We’re very excited to be making our first hires and to be building the brand further particularly within the UK market.

What is your favourite thing about Scotland’s food and drink industry?

I love the diversity of food and drink on offer and the passion that the country has for food and drink. Scottish food and drink comes with a premium association which is great to have.

Why is it important for consumers to support Scottish producers?

In any industry it’s massively important to support local businesses but particularly within product led industries like food and drink, where economies of scale can be a real headwind for small producers. Supporting small producers can help us to compete with bigger brands in a tough market.

Finally, how are you celebrating this Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight?

We will be celebrating with lots of food and lots of Nuisance mixed cocktails!