The Sap is Rising!

After last year’s beast from the east one can never be sure, but our crocus bulbs think spring is near and among Perthshire’s birch trees the sap will surely rise soon.  Taking a walk through beautiful woodland is one of the joys in life – and most definitely hygge. There are birch, oak, ash and pine trees: some still spindly, eagerly reaching skywards; others gnarled from age and full of character. Land of red squirrels, capercaillie and black grouse. Wrapped up against the elements, we breathed in fragrant forest notes that are good for the soul. 

Wendy & Bosse with Rob & Gabrielle from Birken Tree

As we walked with Rob and Gabrielle from Birken Tree we speculated how soon their birch water would be ready, natural tree sap folk have long believed has health-giving properties including rich in anti-oxidants and amino acids. This husband and wife team, forester and healer respectively, sustainably manage natural woodlands to bring us this delightful natural drink.

Birch water comes but once a year, as winter turns to spring, before the trees become green with foliage. With its cleansing, refreshing taste and a hint of natural sweetness it has long been popular in northern climes, dispensed to long distance runners at aid stations and even given to babies when mother’s milk was scarce! Delicious as a drink at table, you can also use it for cooking your porridge or poaching fish.

Sheena Horner,

Sheena Horner, who runs Galloway Chillies from her home near Wigtown, is putting down her apron and picking up her trowel to grow speciality chillies, alongside other herbs and spices. She says…Our new tag line is Propagate the Unusual. Instead of the preserves and chutneys we were developing and producing, we’re going back to where it all started with growing.

Sheena started growing chillies in 2010 when she couldn’t get enough spice locally to satisfy her own tastes and has been developing the business ever since, with the business growing over 120kg of chillies last season. There will also be micro herbs and micro greens available from next month. Sheena is already growing specific varieties of chillies for a few chefs this season. The support we’ve had since I started the business has been tremendous. We’ve got stockists as far north as Morayshire and I’m hoping that many of our existing customers will sample the new range.

Her herbs, spices and chillies will be available fresh, dried and frozen and the micro herbs and micro greens will be available all year round once things are fully up and running. The Galloway Chillies entry and website will be updated as new stockists join so keep an eye out for one near you. More info can be found at  and

The Edinburgh Bakers’ Trust launches the Veronica Burke Award 

Veronica Burke © Bread Matters

A new Scottish charity is inviting grant applications, with one recipient each year receiving The Veronica Burke Award, set up in memory of the co-founder of Bread Matters and Scotland the Bread, who died in April 2018. For full press release and details how to access funding

More Members News…..

Scotland The Bread moves into the real business of 2019 with good news of a growing STB community of heritage flour stockists and bakeriesReal Bread Week celebrations and the inaugural Veronica Burke Award, in memory of our much-missed co-founder.

Edinbane Lodge is now in the process of finishing the renovations to their four rooms and are pleased to announce that these can be booked for Spring 2019 onwards. Prices start from £199 per room, per night including breakfast. All rooms are en suite and decorated to showcase the beautiful colours of the island. Additionally, as overnight guests there is an exclusive Dinner rate for those who choose to dine in their restaurant.

Demijohn– a present for everyone over 18! Are they a foodie or a drinkie? See either Food Gift Sets or Alcohol Gift Sets for some quick ideas.

Are they fruity or tart, sweet or savoury? If fruity or sweet, choose a product with a berry, such as a raspberry, bramble or damson. These fruity cocktails recipes or our cakes and baking recipes could help with ideas. If you need something tart or savoury, then either head for our citrus based products used in these citrus cocktail recipes or try our quick and easy recipes to find an ingredient within a recipe that can be bottled as a present….check out their website for further inspiration!!

Sheila Fleet Seasons is the brand new collection from Sheila Fleet! This beautiful collection is a celebration of happy times and special moments. Sheila’s inspiration came from a walk through falling leaves with her late husband, Rick, on the paths of Inverewe Gardens in the Scottish Highlands. If visiting Orkney be sure to tarry at their very beautiful Kirk Café & Gallery where the best of Orkney fare is beautifully cooked and served in local ceramics.

There’s always lots on at Craigie’s such as AFTERNOON TEA WITH THE EASTER BUNNY on Friday 19th April at 3pm. Enjoy Afternoon Tea with sandwiches and a selection of sweet treats, diluting juice and tea or coffee for the adults. Children will then head out for an Easter Egg Hunt to find a variety of coloured Easter eggs. All children will receive an Easter gift from the Easter bunny. Check out their website for this and many more events.

Knockinaam Lodge Wedding by Marc Millar Wedding Photography

Knockinaam Lodge has an offer for two or more nights between the 19th and 22nd of April and receive an Easter themed afternoon tea on arrival and a visit to Logan fish pond.  Staying with children?  All children under the age of 12 in their parents room go free and we provide a high tea at 6pm and breakfast.  Prices start from £540 midweek or £600 weekend based on double occupancy.  Single occupancy tariffs also available.

Graeme Pallister

Head to Perth and 63 Tay Street for a wonderful Mothers Day Menu cooked for you by Slow Food Cooks Alliance Member Graeme Pallister (seen here cooking at Royal Highland Show) on Sunday 31st March 12 noon to 2pm (last orders) details here… 

Whitmuir has new menu launching Frid 1stMarch from 7pm when they will be inviting us all to sample the dishes for the new menu.  Put the date in your diary – the food is free but they will be raising funds for an environmental charity on the evening. Chef Alexander Escobar comes to Whitmuir from Devon via Belgium and the Canary Islands and has taken over the running of Whitmuir Café and we wish them every success.
Down on the farm the tunnels are in order and everything is getting fixed, repaired and sorted – including the gates the pigs have worked out how to open!

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