The Scottish farm shops and vegetable box schemes of Aberdeenshire
As well as producing great quality local food, a growing band of producers will even deliver their harvest direct to your door
Hand in hand with the demand for meat and farm produce in Aberdeenshire, the rise of farm shops in the area gives a healthy food delivery scene, be it for fresh meat to your door or vegetable bags and boxes made up to the customer’s specification. In each area the market’s thriving, say those involved, with suppliers like Vital Veg, Lembas Organics and Bridgefoot Organics delivering fruit and vegetables, and The Store, Caledonian Bison and Aberdeen Angus Direct offering freshly butchered meat.
Tara McCabe – co-owner of the Bridgefoot Organics co-operative, having just taken over the farm and delivery service from her former employer, who delivered for more than twenty years – reports a growing demand in their surrounding area just north of Aberdeen, with around four hundred boxes sent out and an average of eight new customers a week. ‘We have two types of customer,’ she says. ‘There’s either the one who thinks organic food is good, it’s healthier and maybe they should try it, but they’re not really sure what it’s about and perhaps they expect the same sort of produce as the supermarket, the perfect looking vegetable. The other type, who know exactly what it’s about from the start, they’re the ones who become our regular customers.
‘Lots of people are getting into organics up here. When the recession hit we expected it to make a huge difference, although it really didn’t at all.’ She talks of offering variety, with the farm producing a range of seasonal vegetables and their boxes being topped up with fruit, milk and mushrooms from other local organic suppliers.
‘Our market research tells us we’re still coming out at better value than supermarkets’ organic ranges,’ she says, ‘and also, what goes into our boxes gives people more choice than supermarkets will. I suppose they’re competition to a certain extent, but not to the people who really get the organic side of things, they don’t want the supermarket packaging anyway, they would rather get their stuff from local producers in the area.’