After the dark nights of winter it is incredible to once again be bathed in sunshine and look forward to our homegrown produce. Mother earth, Terra Madre, requires care and attention, not industrialised agriculture, intensive farming nor the general abuse of nature and its inhabitants! Small scale, naturally composted farming methods with heritage breeds is best - adherence to biodiversity is the key. http://www.slowfood.com
Some of Scottish Food Guide’s well-loved members grow much their own in kitchen gardens such as the lovely one at Killiecrankie Hotel http://www.killiecrankiehotel.co.uk This exquisitely restored whitewashed country residence is set in its own grounds near The Soldier’s Leap at the Battle of Killiecrankie where the Jacobites fought William of Orange’s army. Its ten bedrooms are all individually designed and very elegant. There is a charming whisky bar, a stylish dining room and a sunny conservatory to choose from, and all their meat, fish and game are sourced locally. The bonnie gardens are perfect for an after dinner stroll or a post lunch lounge but it is the kitchen garden that I, as a cook, am particularly impressed with: orchards, vegetable beds, herbs, roots and fruits. Having survived the harsh Perthshire chill they are beginning to emerge and flourish. I particularly love the lichen on the trees here – a real sign of the good clean air this region is famous for! A kitchen garden, though not always possible, is a sure sign of a person passionate about food!
Others who have kitchen gardens include The Torridon https://www.thetorridon.com
Prestonfield https://www.prestonfield.com and Albannach http://www.thealbannach.co.uk whilst a growing number of award-winning chefs have started an allotment or linked with someone local including Neil Forbes http://www.cafesthonore.com Carina Contini http://www.contini.com and Craig Wilson http://www.eatonthegreen.co.uk . Fred Berkmiller http://www.lescargotblanc.co.uk even collaborates with Gorgy City Farm to raise pigs too! For those I have missed out, accept my apologies and ping me a reminder for your efforts should not go unnoticed!
Aberdour’s Post and Pantry https://www.facebook.com/postandpantry/ is now in full swing and what a bonus for this bonnie coastal village. Pamela & Amanda have created a wee pearl, instinctively knowing what might be popular, going for the best and arranging it deftly – you can buy Mr C’s Handcrafted Pies http://www.mrcspies.co.uk handmade in Fife and sold in Fortnums, alongside some of Scotland’s best artisan cheeses - whilst all the time they run the village post
office too. In these times of empty high streets and out of town concrete jungles, Aberdour is an absolute joy to shop in with the new Aberdour Bakery Co https://www.facebook.com/TheAberdourBakeryCo/ producing artisan bread and McTaggarts (photo left), recent winners of Fife Retail Business Awards 'Best Eatery Award for a light bite or latte https://www.facebook.com/McTaggarts/ . Time your visit well and you might even catch the local fish van!