TWO family farms in Stirlingshire are ending a difficult year on a high as they celebrate a rise in sales boosted by local shoppers over lockdown.
Alison & Fergus Younger of Old Leckie Farm in the Gargunnock Hills and Shona & Bruce Duncan of Duncan Family Farms near Drymen have welcomed an increase in demand from new and existing customers looking to purchase Scotch-assured red meat and fresh farm produce from local suppliers.
Old Leckie Farm saw demand for home delivery double over lockdown, growing to a team of five people based on the farm and servicing orders and working closely with Skinners of Kippen to butcher the increasing volumes of red meat.
Duncan Family Farms saw a similar spike in interest over lockdown through a mix of direct sales and via online farmers markets – with demand going through the roof from customers discovering what is available on their doorstep. The increase in demand saw Shona and Bruce increase their slots at local abattoir John Scott meats to process Scotch Lamb, hogget and mutton.
The success reflects research carried out by red meat industry body Quality Meat Scotland that revealed Scotland’s love of local produce grew over lockdown, with over three quarters (79%) of people agreeing it is important to continue to support local*.
Alison Younger of Old Leckie Farm said: “When lockdown happened we were really lucky to see a huge spike in customers that allowed us to increase our supply and also offer employment to local people. It’s really important to us to provide a finished product, use local food networks and build relationships and dialogue with our customers, and the past few months have provided us with an opportunity to develop this.
“Thanks to the rise in sales this year, we’re now in a position to launch a new online shop making it easy for people to sign up for our home delivery service.”
Lesley Cameron, director of marketing and communications at Quality Meat Scotland said: “The success of both Old Leckie Farm and Duncan Family Farms over the past few months highlights that people are really keen to support local businesses and make ethical shopping choices that we hope will continue beyond the pandemic.
“As we end the year, we want to extend a huge thank you to everyone across the Scottish red meat industry and beyond who played a part in keeping quality food on tables over what has been a hugely difficult period for so many people.”
Both farms have also seen a growth in interest from people looking to learn about agriculture by visiting farms for tours and overnight stays, something they both hope to develop as part of the Scottish Agritourism group.
Shona Duncan of Duncan Family Farms said: “We are venturing into self-catering accommodation on two of our farms and so got involved with the The Scottish Enterprise Agritourism Monitor Farm Programme in 2019.
“Being part of this project has helped us develop our plans for the future which we hope will allow us to offer guests at our self-catering accommodation not only a unique farm experience but an insight into food production. We’re also keen to develop young people’s education through school projects and virtual tours.”
All farms that produce red meat that bear the Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork seal of approval meet stringent quality assurances that give customers confidence that they are buying meat produced, reared and processed to uncompromisingly high standards.