We emerge, traveling hopefully, optimistically; realistically acknowledging the world is different but forging on. Such is the hospitality industry. Right? Many of our friends have worked harder than they ever thought possible and my respect runs forever deep. Many have changed their modus operandi: adapting, transforming, resolutely re-emerging and I salute them. Some have had a modicum of government support; some of us have not.
What we need now is for co-consumers to keeping voting with their purse and supporting their communities, their cooks, their farmers and their produce; butchers, bakers, cheesemakers … the independent enterprises who sustainably feed us, deliver to us, work around our needs and ask only that we continue to support them and not veer back to giant multinationals, be they supermarkets or restaurant chains. Family cafés and restaurants, delis, grocers and the like contribute to our local communities in so many ways. The world would be a sadder place without them and they need our support now more than ever.
Families have sought out their local butchers and discovered farm shops on their doorstep they were previously oblivious to. Producers now collaborate to offer neighbouring produce to complement their deliveries. Speaking personally, there was a time when these deliveries were a lifeline. As we all emerge from that proverbial tunnel we hope for good times to come and I certainly wish to do all in my power to support the lovely Scottish Food Guide members and Scotland as a food tourism destination.
We are blessed in Scotland with fine produce and skilled chefs; warm folk and health-giving countryside. Our stunning landscape of mirrored lochs and rivers in spate, heather moors and mountains, rich pasture and fertile soils, all provide much of our exceptional food. Scotland’s food production does not need to grow larger to be better; on the contrary I suggest it needs to be smaller scale to be better: farming with nature, valuing our heritage, nurturing our native breeds, using natural ingredients – not ultra processed or reformulated. Celebrating our uniqueness. That’s what tourists come for and that’s what locals appreciate. We don’t need to do ‘compromise’ and ‘average’ when we can do BEST!!
We as a nation have become so detached from our food systems we have a chance to rectify this: in schools, colleges, workplaces and word of mouth. Spread the word, campaign for a better food system, a Slow Food system, an ethical food system…not bigger…just better on all levels. We owe it to the next generation. I’ll be open all hours to help make it happen…though allow me a little beauty sleep too please!
Some members have been busy creating video clips, cooking at home during #lockdown so if you have anything short you would like to share, I can add the link on your Scottish Food Guide webpage. This is also a good time to check your entry and see if you would like me to make any changes. News items are always posted on the Latest Offers button on the home page however I know some of you have changed considerably post-COVID with great ideas so do take a moment to check your details are accurate. Not joined us yet? Do get in touch.
I have created a series of video shorts on my Youtube channel here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHImwsa2-4r1aobNeoCt8Mg – I never thought you would hear me say that!
Currently there is already a 4-part series on Scottish artisan cheeses plus a couple about rare breed lamb and mutton and there will be more to follow. The recipes will include members’ produce and promote various regions… a work in progress. All to encourage active engagement with Scottish Food Guide and its members.
In the meantime here are some other members in action for you to enjoy over a coffee…
- Neil Forbes, Café St Honore https://vimeo.com/135357719
- Craig Wilson, Eat on the Green https://www.scottishagriculturalshow.co.uk/the-main-stage/
- Scotland’s Larder Live with Neil Forbes, Heather Byers, Andy Christie of Gleddoch, The Batch Lady, Wee Dalry Dairy, Calum Montgomery of Edinbane Lodge, Ali Abercrombie of Cairn O’Mhor Café, Mark Heirs, Carins Contini of Contini, Iain Campbell of Campbells Bakery, and Paul Newman of Errichel. Funded by RHASS and created by Georgina Davies with thanks to https://representcomms.co.uk for hosting the link here https://youtu.be/7Iefo3lG8Jo You may need to cut’n’paste the link.
Last but by no means least, should any producers wish to take part in Slow Food’s Terra Madre, this year the event will be arranged differently, with Terra Madre adapting to the times. Terra Madre Salone del Gusto will change in format but not substance with an online platform for six months. There are many different possibilities for participation: simply being present in the marketplace, access to e-commerce and online sales or the organisation of private meetings with national and international buyers, to present and promote your business based on your needs. Slow Food sent me a presentation with further details I can forward to you so if you would like to know more please get in touch.