“O Scotia! my dear, my native soil!
For whom my warmest wish to heaven is sent;
Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil
Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet content.” – Robert Burns
The above words are taken from ‘A Cotter’s Saturday Night‘ in which Burns relates how the Cotter and his family relax on a Saturday evening after their week’s labour, knowing that Sunday is a day of rest. We hope that you and your family are managing to find some time to relax in these strange times. In the absence of real-life entertainment, some of the Scene and Herd Team are looking forward to a Zoom Murder Mystery night, an online Escape Room and virtual St Andrew’s Day celebrations! You can check the current COVID restrictions in your area by entering your postcode at gov.scot/check-local-covid-level/.
- A packed programme of seminars and discussion will be on offer on Wednesday 18th of November when the first-ever online AgriScot event takes place. More…
- After a brief hiatus, Series 2 of our OnFARM podcast is now underway. The first of the new series features Aberdeenshire feed manufacturer Norvite who are at the centre of trials of Scottish-grown organic cold-pressed rapeseed oil as a premium product for restaurants and wholesale. They also hope to offer organic animal feed – a counterpart to their soya-free, local, yet conventional dairy ration NeoLac. Listen here…
- In the second episode, Anna is joined by Debs Roberts of the Scottish Organic Producers Association (SOPA), and Phil Swire, an Aberdeenshire farmer who is midway through converting to organic. This podcast explores what it takes to convert from conventional to organic farming, the benefits and pitfalls of making the switch – and what really captures people’s passion along the way. Listen here…
(In the run-up to St Andrew’s Day, join in the organic conversation on social media using #organicscotland)
- Award-winning Scottish butcher McCaskie has opened their Christmas order book – both online and via a printed order form in the shop.
- Integration of farming and woodland – using underproductive or marginal land for tree planting – could significantly boost the sustainability of rural businesses. Scottish Forestry is keen to emphasise that new woodlands can create an additional long-term, tax-free income stream for farm businesses, offer low-cost wood fuel opportunities and provide a valuable source of carbon sequestration. More…
- For 2021, the Farm Shop & Deli Awards are placing more emphasis on how specialist retailers have adapted their business and supported their community, staff and suppliers this year, rather than focusing on financial success. If you are considering entering the awards, which are free to enter, we are at the end of the phone or email if you need any support submitting an application. In the meantime, we have a few tips about entering awards here…
- Are you a member of your local Chambers of Commerce? The Scotland Loves Local’ Fund will provide grants of between £500 and £5,000 (which can include marketing costs) to constituted groups such as Trade Associations & BIDs.
From our various social media accounts, we have been sharing pumpkin recipes and we are now gearing up for Christmas recipes. We particularly like this one for Baked Fontina, one of several on Connage Highland Dairy’s website, and perfect for dreich days:
680g Italian Fontina Val d’Aosta cheese, rind removed and 1-inch-diced
1/4 cup good olive oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 crusty French baguette
Preheat the broiler and position the oven rack 5 inches from the heat.
Distribute the cubes of Fontina evenly in a 12-inch cast-iron pan. Drizzle on the olive oil. Combine the garlic, thyme, and rosemary and sprinkle it over the cheese and olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and place the pan under the broiler for 6 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling and starts to brown.
Serve the baked Fontina family-style-right out of the oven in the cast-iron pan with crusty chunks of bread for everyone to dip.
We mentioned in our last newsletter how Awareness Days could be a useful engagement tool in your social media planning. As this was popular with many of you, we’ve included some December dates below.
November included some well-established month-long challenges such as Movember and NaNoWriMo – how about establishing your own challenge for December to engage your followers on social media? It could be as simple as encouraging people to share a daily photo of their lunch, challenging people to recommend a local business each day of December, or sharing a song every day.
Some December 2020 awareness events:
World Soil Day (5th December) and its campaign “Keep soil alive, Protect soil biodiversity” aims to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being by addressing the growing challenges in soil management. #WorldSoilDay
Small Business Saturday (5th December) a grassroots, non-commercial campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities. #SmallBizSatUK
(You might want to remind your customers of your festive opening hours or your cut-off date for Christmas orders. Royal Mail’s latest recommended posting dates can be seen here.)
Get in touch and let us know if there’s anything we can help with. We’d also love to hear news and updates from you and your business.