8 of the best farm shops in Scotland

10 July 2024, 15:02 PM
  • Showcasing the very best of Scotland’s plentiful larder is the focus for these farm shops. Learn how they’ve grown small side-hustles into successful businesses
8 of the best farm shops in Scotland

Steeped in history and culture, Scotland’s food and drink industry has grown over the years into a vibrant and thriving sector with a reputation for quality. Farm shops are a crucial part of the puzzle, linking homegrown produce of the highest welfare and sustainability standards directly to consumers hungry for better-quality food and drink. Speciality Food has rounded up just a few of the retailers who have turned their farm businesses into popular retail destinations, complete with impressive cafes, restaurants, production kitchens and more.

Do you think your Scottish farm shop belongs on our list? Get in touch!

Craigies Deli & Farm Shop

Location: South Queensferry, Edinburgh
Shop hours: Every day, 9am-4pm

Craigies is the fruit of the labour of fourth-generation farmer John Sinclair along with his wife Kirsteen, their children Sophie and George and John’s mother Anne. John took over the family farm from his parents in 1995, and he and Kirsteen transformed the struggling beef and dairy farm into a thriving soft fruit and vegetable growing business, with a restaurant, shop and events and activities that bring in 260,000 visitors a year.

All the family are involved in running the business in some shape or form, with the help of around 60 staff members. The retail business dates back to 1988, when it was a simple, one-table shop in a converted barn. The enterprise has grown over the years, with new ideas continuing to breathe new life into the farm, like a cafe added in 2007, pick your own excursions, and Little Farmers, an adventure farm park for children, which opened in 2021. 

Now a destination farm shop, John is proud to be a flag-bearer for modern Scottish farming.“I’ve been immersed in farming my whole life, following in the footsteps of my late father. Farming and family are at the heart of everything at Craigies Farm where we strive to offer a complete modern farm experience to showcase the value of farming to our communities and allow them to be part of it,” he said.

Located just outside of Edinburgh, the shop and cafe offer quality, locally grown and sourced food chosen with care by John and Kirsteen that celebrate Scotland’s larder. Visitors can peruse freshly baked bread and cakes; deli treats, including homemade quiches and pies as well as a cheese counter stocking only Scottish cheeses; and everyday essentials and store cupboard goods. Quality meat from local farmers can also be bought at the in-house butchery.

Balgove Larder

Location: St Andrews, Fife
Shop Hours: Every day, 9am-5pm

The idea to open Balgove Larder was sparked when Will Docker and Henry Cheape saw an opportunity to showcase Scottish produce in 2010 when, as Will says, “there was a real lack of local food on local menus, despite Scotland having such a rich history for outstanding produce”.

“Balgove was conceived on the desire to diversify a traditional family farm to celebrate traditional produce, working with single-link supply chains where possible and pairing back to more of an old fashioned ‘real’ farm retail and hospitality experience,” he tells Speciality Food.

From daily provisions and pantry essentials to veg picked fresh from the field and handmade deli counter delicacies, the shop is stocked with brilliant food and drink sourced from more than 140 suppliers. The butchery sells an array of meat products from the free-range cattle, pigs and sheep that the team rears to the highest husbandry care and animal welfare standards. 

The team, Will says, “work tirelessly to produce the best pasture-fed, regenerative farmed livestock week in and out, which is the mainstay of our butchery supply chain.” Balgove’s butchery meat, ready meals and granola are all top sellers in the shop – and all are “lovingly prepared onsite by our fantastic team,” Will says. “That said, our freshly baked scones get a lot of people coming back for more!” In the café, these are certainly a must-order dish, but Will also recommends trying the eggs benedict for breakfast or something from the specials board, which changes every day.

In the Steak Barn, a restaurant based in a former sawmill selling steaks hung for no less than 28 days, alongside burgers and sausages made on site and cooked to order on a wood-fired BBQ,  Will’s choice would be a cheeseburger or one of the ‘select steaks’, like flat iron or bavette, with some béarnaise and truffle chips on the side.

What makes the shop truly unique to Will is not only its produce but also its people. “We have a wonderful sense of community and values that are not just for short-term gain, we really focus on doing simple things well and operating in as sustainable way as possible,” he says. 

“Our location, just outside St Andrews, is key to our growth rate over the years, but our produce speaks for itself. The butchery counter, the home-grown vegetables, the seasonal café menus and the authenticity of the Steak Barn would have to be contributing factors in our uniqueness.”

Grow Wild

Location: Linlithgow
Shop Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-4pm

Grow Wild brings fresh, organic produce to customers embracing a sustainable, organic and natural lifestyle through its “thriving” farm shop, located in Linlithgow. Having grown out of a delivery business established in 1998, which distributed more than a thousand tonnes of organic produce throughout central Scotland in its time, it is now a “true, hands-on authentic farm shop, which is all about food,” says owner Lindsay Girvan.

The warm atmosphere of the shop is no doubt part of its success. “The whole team love people, enjoy spending time sharing knowledge and make everyone feel welcome,” she says. 

The farm shop is stocked full of fresh, certified-organic produce picked daily and brought in from neighbouring farms and from further afield. “The carefully curated range makes Grow Wild what it is, encompasses ethical brands of integrity and includes award-winning cheeses, locally made charcuterie, organic and local meats and poultry, dairy… the list goes on,” Lindsay says. Customers will also find Mossgiel milk in glass bottles, refills on cleaning products and personal care, fresh bread and pastries and free-range organic eggs – plus visits from mobile pop-up food trucks.

The farm’s specialities include high-welfare Bonnytoun Shetland lamb, local wild game and homegrown fruit and vegetables. Farmer Ben, “who lovingly grows and harvests the Grow Wild organic produce,” picks all their fresh veg within 50 meters of the farm shop.

Grow Wild is also firmly committed to reducing waste and helping to restore nature’s balance, Lindsay says. “With the option for reuse of single-use plastic, there is provision made for thoughtful consumers.

“The farm itself, which is home to Grow Wild, has seen Ben plant hedges, replace fences, create wildlife corridors, plant green manure, attenuate flooding with ponds and convert 60 acres of the farm to organic veg production,” she adds. “On top of all that, Ben has also included clover in grassland mixes to improve soil condition, sacrificed yield for nutrient-building in the soil and grown seed for the birds as part of a crop rotation system.”

With a thriving organic farm and shop, what’s next? There’s no restaurant or cafe on site yet, but Lindsay says to watch this space. “Lots of new developments are underway,” she says.

Gloagburn Farm Shop

Location: Tibbermore, Perth
Shop Hours: Every day, 8:30am-5:30pm

“Our farm shop originated from selling free-range eggs in our garage over 20 years ago and, driven by a demand to supplement the farms income, we opened our farm shop in June 2003,” explains Fergus Niven, manager of the farm shop. “Now, unrecognisable from our original timber shed, we have a 130-cover restaurant, butchery, deli, in house bakery and gift shop along with our seasonal flower picking.”

Owned and run by third-generation farmers Ian and Alison Niven, Gloagburn Farm Shop has a very popular and extensive range of homemade products, as well as the finest food and drink that Scotland has to offer, including world-renowned wild venison, organic lamb and chicken, Scottish beer and gin, stunning wine, smoked meats, natural yoghurts and tasty puddings.

Over the past two decades, the farm shop’s goal remains unchanged, however: “We like to think that we do the simple things very well and aim to serve and sell the freshest, highest quality food and drink we can source,” Fergus says. The team love working with as many Scottish suppliers as possible, but a few stand out to Fergus, including wholesaler The Cress Co, which has been with the team since the start; Grierson Organics and Sour Joe’s, which are located just around the corner from the farm; and Puddledub Pork, which Fergus says have the best bacon.

In terms of the shop’s own best-sellers, the house-made oatcakes, free-range eggs and curried banana chutney are favourites with customers. In the restaurant, where everything is made on the premises, there are many popular dishes to choose from, but Fergus points to the twice-baked cheddar souffle as the most ordered on the menu. “Our club sandwiches and eggs benedict take some beating too,” he adds.

Ardross Farm Shop

Location: Elie, Fife
Shop Hours: Monday-Wednesday and Friday-Sunday, 9am-5:30pm; Thursday 9am-8pm

Ardross Farm Shop was set up in 2005 to sell the homegrown beef, lamb, mutton and veg grown on Ardross Farm when the Pollock family decided to try selling their meat directly to the public after being faced with pressure from supermarkets and rising fuel costs.

Set on the beautiful coastline of East Neuk of Fife, what started as a cart shed with one chest freezer and a calculator has grown over the years into what the team describe as a ‘haven for food lovers’ stocking a selection of locally and nationally produced artisan food and drink.

In addition to their own home-reared and grown produce, the shop stocks an array of fresh produce – all of which has been tried and tasted by the family. To promote British agriculture, 90% of the produce in the shop is made by farming families, including free-range eggs, pork, venison and game from local estates. The shop also stocks handmade ready meals, jams and marmalades, chocolates, farmhouse ice cream, wines and beers and much more.

The team is sustainability-minded and aim to use everything produced on the farm to create as little waste as possible, as well as enhancing biodiversity where they can. They also put the welfare of their animals above everything else, and in 2016 became Pasture for Life assured. The on-site farm kitchen makes use of any excess fresh produce to create homemade meals, puddings, chutneys and jams, home-baked goods and seasonal soups and pies.

The Heron Farm Shop

Location: Strathaven, South Lanarkshire
Shop Hours: Monday-Thursday, 9.30am-4.30pm; Friday-Sunday, 9am-5pm

After living and working on their 122 acre farm since 2008, Emma and Angus made their planning application to establish The Heron Farm Shop in 2018. Today, the farm shop offers home-reared and local meats, after the family initially established the farm on a flock of Scottish Blackface breeding ewes and a Christmas tree plantation.

In addition to meat, fresh produce abounds in the form of charcuterie, cheese, dairy and confectionery, cakes and baked goods. They also stock jams, chutneys, sauces and a range of chilled and frozen produce. The focus is on sourcing quality products with good provenance from trusted farmers, producers and suppliers. Don’t miss the selection of Scottish gins, vodkas, whiskeys and rum, plus tasty wines, beers and ciders.

Some of the producers The Heron Farm Shop works with include Ramsay of Carluke, family butchers who provide excellent pork sausages; Battlefield Bakery, based just three miles away and providing weekly deliveries of bread to the shop; Damn Delicious, a local farmer and butcher providing purely grass-fed Angus beef, matured for 28 days and stocked in the shop in the form of steak pies and steaks; and Puddledub, a family farm in Fife that rears large White-Duroc pigs providing a range of pork products including sausages.

The Heron Kitchen serves freshly cooked breakfasts, which they are renowned for, as well as lunch, light snacks and afternoon tea, and everything is made from scratch by the team.

Loch Arthur Farm Shop

Location: Beeswing, Dumfries
Shop Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9am-5pm

The unique Loch Arthur Farm Shop is set within the Loch Arthur working community, located near Dumfries, in southwest Scotland, which includes men and women with learning disabilities. More than 75 people live across 11 houses on the site, which also boasts a farm, large garden, creamery, bakery, craft workshops and a “thriving” fam shop and cafe.

Selling quality food produced and sourced, the team say, with “care and integrity,” the farm shop offers a selection of homegrown organic food, including artisan cheeses and dairy products made on the farm; bread and rolls baked fresh daily in the bakery; and organic meats from their own and locally reared animals, expertly butchered on-site.

The shop also stocks a range of locally grown organic fruit and vegetables, plus cakes, pies biscuits, chutneys and more produced in the farm shop kitchen. The team takes pride in showcasing the best of southwest Scotland’s larder, alongside a selection of crafts and food accessories. 

Customers can enjoy a peaceful moment in the warm cafe with a slice of homemade cake, soup or a light meal. As the team say, the farm shop and cafe is “a building with a purpose, a building that can welcome, that can offer possibilities and that can enable many people to share in this unique expression of social enterprise”.

Castleton Farm Shop

Location: Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire
Shop Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9am-5pm; Sunday,10am–5pm

Castleton Farm is a family-run farm that grows and supplies fruit as well as making its own branded products and running its farm shop and cafe. The Mitchell family’s roots at Castleton date back to the 1900s, with the current branch of the family’s ownership dating to 1992, when the focus was on dairy production and strawberry crops. 

Now owned by Ross and Anna Mitchell, the farm produces high-quality traditional Scottish food from its location in the heart of the Howe of the Mearns in Aberdeenshire. The farm shop and cafe first opened in 2004 in the old filling station in nearby Fordoun, selling soft fruit and local meat, cheese and veg. The first iteration of the shop was a roaring success and resulted in a shop and cafe being built at the end of the farm road.

Today, the farm shop boasts “outstanding” regional produce, from their own soft fruit, jams, chutneys and vinegars – all made in the on-site kitchen using berries fresh from the farm – to hand-picked products from local suppliers, such as pork from Ingrams Homecure, eggs from B&S Scott on Odmonston Farm and oatcakes from Duncans of Deeside.

Visitors can also spend time in the welcoming café and the airy conservatory that was added in 2020. The kitchen’s focus is firmly on featuring the best food and drink Scotland has to offer, with every cake made from Scottish flour and local free-range eggs and hot drinks made using Scottish Fairtrade coffee roaster Matthew Algie’s products.

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