2:14 pm, September 23, 2013
There is much noise currently about the independence referendum, but here at Newmiln there is another independence issue that’s been making some interesting headlines lately. Its 9 months on from the breaking of the horsemeat scandal, there are no signs of any form of prosecution for any of the players involved, and you would be forgiven for thinking; “oh well there goes another food scandal, just like the last one.” Does it matter?
Yes of course it does. Its had a huge impact on our little business in 2013. We don’t need all of Mr Big Supermarket’s business, we only need a tiny bit of it. So it’s been a very exciting year for us. New customers have been finding us, trade at our farmers’ market stalls in Perth and Edinburgh has been brisk, and the farm shops we supply report a surge in sales and increased number of visitors. Sales of organic food and in box schemes are on the rise again. So what is going on? What do we independents have to offer thats different?
Independence as a business means small. We do what we do to please our customers. If you didn’t like it you wouldn’t come back. Its that simple. The guarantee we give you when you shop here, for example, is that you don’t get horse when you buy beef. It is a clear indicator of where we stand. Right behind our produce. We don’t point the finger and say “oh its not our fault, its our suppliers’”.
I like to think we provide a little variety to the average food shop. If its only that you come to us for the large Christmas roast chicken with giblets, or the occasional Saturday night steak, or find our egg pod at the farm gate, we’ll do our best for everyone. We aim to produce the very best tasting food that our land and local climate can provide and then find an effective way to get it to you, while not losing sight of the fact that there are people involved, those that live and work here, and our customers, who eat what we grow.
The nature of shopping with us independents is that we can make that variety available. In our case we can sell you shin of beef (looking very fetching here), lamb neck chops and kidneys, a whole chicken with the giblets in, and even a pigs head, should you ever want one.
If you go to Pillars of Hercules, one of our shop customers and a very lovely place, you’ll be introduced to exotic sounding things like Cavalo Nero and Romanesque. They grow a range of interesting vegetables that do well in their soil but are perhaps a little weird for the mainstream.
If you think food has been “dumbed down” in this country then you are right, it has, but as independents we can offer that variety and aim to turn that mono-food-cultural juggernaut around.
So what does your custom mean to us? Your support keeps 11 full time jobs going on this farm, preserves traditional butchery and slaughtering (yes, done properly, it’s a skill) skills, supports the native breeds that thrive so well in lush, rainy Scotland, and keeps a very small part of that Scottish vernacular food story alive.
We’ll look forward to speaking to you soon, and keep voting for food independents.