How independents are championing Scottish produce in fine food retail

19 December 2022, 07:05 AM
  • We spoke to two Scottish retailers promoting their local produce and supporting the community about how they do it

How independents are championing Scottish produce in fine food retail

Sam Parsons, farm manager at Bowhouse, East Neuk
“Bowhouse is part of Balcaskie Estate, where nurturing vibrant local communities, businesses and habitats are key objectives. By providing the right habitat for like-minded food and drink producers to operate from one site, the shared skills, ingredients, staff etc. provide small businesses with economies of scale which would otherwise not be possible. It’s very much a producer group, where people work together on collaborative projects and thrive on one and others energy.

“In the knowledge that much of our local, excellent produce is exported around the UK and globally, creating local supply chains becomes almost impossible for local producers. At Bowhouse we champion passion and quality first and foremost. 

“We aim to reconnect local consumers with local producers and provide the opportunity for producers to recruit long-term customers with trust in the whole process being paramount. Transparency in production systems combined with passionate experts in their own field, enable customers to meet producers first-hand at our monthly market weekends or as regular customers of the resident producers.

“With increasing frequency, we, as customers, want to understand more about how our food and drink is produced, where the ingredients are sourced, and how the production system fits into our social and environmental surroundings. Sites like Bowhouse provide the opportunity to learn more and understand how our food web really works.”

Will Docker, co-founder of Balgove Larder, St Andrews
“What we cannot grow, rear, or produce on site, we look for locally first. Localism has a rich history of providing the best, freshest, seasonal produce, only in the past few decades has globalisation muscled in on this. 

“Working closely with the producer and knowing who they are and what they stand for is so important. I met an artisan cheese producer who wouldn’t make her cheese if she was in a bad mood as she just knew it would not taste as good. It’s this kind of connection that will always have a place when challenging mass-produced anonymous foods. 

“We will always promote local, with in-store tastings, or our seasonal monthly Night Markets where our producers market and sell their produce, with live music, an open bar and street food. We’ve also worked with producers to refine or develop new products and had great responses to this.

“Local aligns so well with both our regulars and tourists – people continue to really want to know about where their produce comes from.”

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