It’s been a busy spell at Scottish Food Guide HQ and we’re itching to visit places again although also aware many establishments need to take advantage of every staycationer wallet in the meantime so we shall hold off a little longer whilst the English schools are still on vacation and re-start visits in the quieter autumn months when folk have time to chat and we can all channel our thoughts!
Talking of making hay while the sun shines, you will have seen on social media Bosse has been on a grain mission, thanks to the kind people at Ardross allowing him to fulfil his dreams of trying out a selection of rare and interesting indigenous heritage grains he has been collecting. He has done a few trials in our mini kitchen garden but thanks to the Pollock’s walled garden he has been able to multiply the seeds and try out some more. With healthy crops of oats, bere, wheat and rye – 9 varietals in all – we plan to harvest, thresh, mill and bake on them to see what flavours we have. There has been much interest, great fun and busy open evenings. This year will be more about seed saving however there will certainly be some tasting, even if not much in year 1. It is exciting to see what we have…and I am learning new skills every day!
Such biodiversity plays a vital role in our food security, giving us access to landrace varietals: crops capable of adapting for climate change and not at the beck and call of some multinational seed company. Such corporate entities own seeds, often modified and with narrow genetics and diminished resilience if circumstances change.
Support our Butchers
The same can be said for animal breeds, where genetics are often ‘developed’ to produce bigger, faster-growing animals for profit rather than palate, for industrialised rather than regenerative farming systems. This couldn’t be farther from the case of the Orkney Boreray Sheep, the 2nd Slow Food Presidium awarded to Scotland, the 1st being the North Ronaldsay Sheep! You will find all the details here Orkney Boreray and why not join us on a free zoom to hear more on Tuesday 7th Sept @ 7.30pm – links for which are available via Slow Food newsletter out now.
Indeed we Scots have a pretty good score card when it comes to rearing animals using high welfare, free-range methods, particularly cattle and sheep as we have so much terrain well-suited to ruminants. It is significantly harder to source outdoor-reared free-range pigs and poultry these days however you will find places on Scottish Food Guide’s butchery pages
Thanks to Scottish Food Guide’s Food Charter you can be assured that member chefs are seeking out the best produce and, along with consumers, are supporting ethical and delicious foods. Whether you eat out, dish up or cook at home, please continue to support our producers – in the words of the nationwide campaign, #weallneedafarmer
City of Glasgow College
We also need chefs and between the double-edged sword of brexit and covid, that is not an easy task. With this in mind I collaborated with City of Glasgow College to attempt to spread the word of the amazing opportunities for employment in the world of food, particularly highlighting family and independent businesses.
With Foraging Fortnight around the corner I have been collaborating with NatureScot to bring together some wild food events. There are now around 50 opportunities to engage across Scotland: wild treks, camping and open fires; Fife seaweed excursions; fungi foraging and wild medicines, so embrace nature and gather some delicacies along the way. Among SFG members there are some events to tempt you…
Wild Inspired at Scottish Food Studio
Foraging Fortnight also has some excellent videos to guide you on your way through the seasons whether it be brambling or woodland mushrooms, coastal rock pools or recipe ideas with your harvest.
Food Sovereignty Week
Last week was Food Sovereignty Week and an opportunity to leap on my proverbial soapbox to celebrate our native produce. I provided a cookery show plus took part in an interesting discussion on the subject.
As a result I now have a programme on the last Thursday of every month entitled Scottish Food Show on IndyLive. More info to follow but the first programme will be at 6pm on Thursday 30th September.
Scottish Cheese Trail
Our Scottish cheeses go from strength to strength and, as with all our other foods, these skilled and dedicated farmers and cheesemakers are to be supported and celebrated. Over in Italy Slow Cheese is fast approaching. Bosse and I attended this event a few years ago – totally cocooned in cheese from morning to night and a dream for any cheese lover, I would highly recommend it. This year Slow Food UK is bringing it online to our livingroom with events across UK so look out for that newsletter I mentioned for the free booking links …and why not order some of our fabulous cheeses to savour in the comfort of your home whilst watching? Scottish Cheese Trail
St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company are looking for an Assistant Cheesemaker to join their small team making award winning cheese. The successful candidate will learn how to make cheese, look after it in the Maturing Rooms and cut and pack it for orders. Full training will be given, so no previous experience required – just a love of good food and a willingness to learn the job. Hours of work are Monday to Friday, no weekends, and a good rate of pay. Apply to email@example.com tel. 01333 312580