Midsummer tidings to you all

It’s been a while…too long… since our last newsletter but we have certainly not been idle and have news to share. There have been three cheese workshops, one a full day experience with expert Kathy Biss and a vat of Kedar’s delicious milk to make into cheese. The participants have been fabulous and engaged with many interesting questions and the feedback has been terrific. Once they are over our doorstep, they become immersed in not only dairy but also other elements of Scotland’s food culture: from the breeds, feed and ruminants to the Ark of Taste specials on the lunch menu.

Cheese Experiences

There are also two more of my Scottish Food Show programmes hosted on the IndyLive channel, with the next one going out on Sunday 26th at 2pm, featuring Ayrshire produce and garden rhubarb. My aim is to encourage more cooking from scratch, supporting local producers and hopefully another small step towards a Good Food Nation.

Those of you following us on social media will see that at long last our book is out – with a gestation longer than an elephant, it has been a cross-eyed month of proofing and decision-making but worth it all to hold the volume in our hands yesterday. Our thanks to Bell & Bain in Glasgow for their attention to detail and polished printed result.

Weighing in at over a kilo it will keep you busy and we hope you enjoy not only reading it but dipping in an hoc for useful information as you grow, rear, prepare and/or cook delicious produce – and we think you will find a few surprises along the way. With years of planning, and liberally seasoned with photos past and present, we wish you happy reading. After the weekend there will be books available from Craigie’s, Auchentullich, Errichel & Hardiesmill farm shops with more to follow and a book tour in August.

Farmers among you will be well aware of the lack of rain so regular visits to Ardross currently play an important part in our ‘leisure time’ where Bosse waters his heritage grain project and I have received tuition in weeding!

Elsewhere, as the world begins to emerge, I have managed to drop in on a number of members and look forward to visiting many more, there has been the judging of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust Scottish Sustainable Food & Farming Awards, the Winners being announced at the Royal Highland Show this Thursday. The RHS build up is reaching its penultimate day.

Judges Elizabeth Drummond-Young (Edinburgh Bakers Trust) & Ameena Nur (Jeju Bakes) with Co-Creator Andrew Whitley.

The Dairy and Bread Championships have been judged and the winners notified. This year the Scottish Bread Championship sponsored by Scotland The Bread and myself now has additional sponsorship and funding from the Edinburgh Bakers Trust, dedicated to supporting bread and grain projects. Do check it out

We have a great line up in the Food for Thought Cookery & Conference Theatre – in a break with tradition, this year it will be in a marquee adjacent to Scotland’s Larder Food Hall with a full programme of not only chefs but also writers representing the President’s Initiative from the Highlands and Islands.

Neil Forbes in action 2019

We are thrilled to welcome back Craig Wilson, The Kilted Chef, with a few surprises up his sleeve! Tom Lewis never ceases to entertain us and Billy Hamilton is usually our game guru so we shall see what he brings along this time. Paul Newman brings his skills and wisdom to the stage on Saturday as does the whirlwind Batch Lady, and myself, cooking up Orkney delicacies this time. We round up on Sunday with Praveen Kumar filling our senses with spices and goodness, and Neil Forbes showcasing Scotland’s best.

Flying the Highlands & Islands flag we have The Budge Sisters, Seafood Shack, Lynbreck Farm, Bad Girl Bakery, Ghillie Basan, Graham Rooney, Marian Armitage cooking Native Shetland lamb, and last but by no means least, it will be a real pleasure to welcome back Lady Claire Macdonald on stage.

There will be so much to see and do I look forward to seeing those of you who can manage along. For those manning the action stations of hospitality across Scotland I wish you a successful, safe and healthy summer.

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