Protecting the world’s endangered foods. The Slow Food Ark of Taste

This project strives to draw attention to the products and the history behind them, inspiring people to take action to protect them. This might be simply buying and eating them, spreading the word, or supporting the producers behind them.  In the case of endangered wild species, this might mean eating less or none of them in order to preserve their existence for future generations.

IMG_4778 juniperberries
Scotland’s forgotten larder.
Here in Scotland, we are blessed with so many incredible products: our Ark features over 35 examples of wonderful Scottish foods. Everything from Reestit mutton and Native Shetland Lamb to Beremeal, the Arbroath Smokie and the honey of the Black Bee. But there is still a pressing need to research, record and promote the many other special heritage products that are in danger of disappearing before our eyes.


Our actions. Our network.
A Scottish Ark of Taste Commission consists of food historian Catherine Brown, restaurateur Carina Contini, Cuddybridge apple juice producer Graham Stoddart, Pam Rodway of Slow Food Scotland, Denise Walton of Peelham Farm. All co-ordinated by Wendy Barrie of the Scottish Food Guide. Together with Slow Food International’s Ark experts in Italy, they are adding new Ark ‘boarders’ regularly, as candidates are suggested by our convivia and others who care about foods worth protecting.

All the current items on the Ark of Taste in Scotland. And where to find them.

Bloody Ploughman

It was first recorded in 1883 and originates from the Carse of Gowrie, near Dundee. A medium to large apple, flat-round in shape, with ribs. It has dark red skin, when ripe the crisp, juicy flesh can be stained pink. It has a sweet, light flavor and grows on a vigorous tree. One of the best Scottish midseason eaters picked in September/ October.
The story goes that a ploughman was caught stealing apples from the Megginch Estate and shot dead by a gamekeeper. When his body was returned to his wife, she found some of the stolen apples in his pockets and threw them onto the rubbish heap. One of the seedlings that arose from the heap bore apples of a deep, blood red. This tree was rescued and gave rise to the variety that was named after the unfortunate ploughman.
The banks of the River Tay have a long, but partially lost history of orchards and apples. However, today many cultivars are threatened by the market preference for the five or six varieties available in the supermarkets.

When ripe, this apple can be eaten straight from the tree. Its red flesh means that, when juiced, the Bloody Ploughman creates unique, pink juice. It can also be used to make cider. This also means that the apple makes beautiful pink pies, jams, cakes and crumbles. For trees, contact John Hancox, Scottish Fruit Trees, Glasgow.

Highland Burgundy Red Potato

A unique looking variety of potato that has a sweet taste and floury texture and has a visual striking look that is red, distinctive.
It is an oval potato, long-shaped, with dull russet layer over a bright burgundy skin. It has a red flesh with a definite ring of white, a fluffy texture and delicious sweet flavour.

There are no records as yet found prior to 1936 but research is on going. Interestingly enough this variety was originally used for a special meal at the Savoy in London for the Duke of Burgundy in 1936 .
It is better steamed in order to retain the colour, this potato can be used for soups, chips, mashed, pies or just sauté.
Highland Burgundy Red provides low yield compared to the widely available yellow varieties, so it is only available in few farm shops across the country. Available from SKEA Organics, East Mains Farm, Dundee DD3 0QN Tel:01382 320 453


Flour made from bere, the distinct northern Scottish, six-row local barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). At present, Bere is easily identified from other barleys as the only 6-rowed spring barley on the UK market. Traditionally used to make a dark-greyish bannock, a soft roll that is a speciality of Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles. Available from Barony Mill.

North Ronaldsay Sheep

These sheep are the only animals in the world, aside from a certain Galapagon lizard, to be able to subsist entirely on seaweed, leading to its nickname ‘seaweed sheep’. Champions of North Ronaldsay mutton hold it in the same regard as prosciutto ham, truffles or caviar as it has a unique flavour. Available from William Muir, North Ronaldsay, Isles of Orkney Tel:01857 633257

Wild Scottish Juniper

In the 17th century, Juniper was one Scotland’s important exports. Berries collected in the Highlands were exported to Holland for the production of geniver. Its formerly wide distribution is considered one of the reasons a large portion of the British gin industry relocated to Scotland during the wars, early in the 20th century. Through a combination of historic overharvesting, miss-management and disease, Juniper stocks are at risk. The majority of Juniper used in Scottish cooking and spirits production is imported from abroad.

Shetland Black Potato

This kidney-shaped, dark purple skinned-potato has a sweet and buttery flavour and a light, floury texture – best cooked in their skins, normally boiled. Potatoes were introduced to the Shetland Islands as long ago as 1588, when they were believed to have been salvaged from a wrecked Spanish Armada ship. For seed potatoes, contact Andrew Skea, Skea Organics, Isles of Shetland Tel:01382 320 453

Shetland Cabbage

Kale Shetland Cabbage/Kale (Brassica oleracea L) is the oldest-known Scottish local vegetable variety and has been grown on the Shetland Islands since at least the 17th century. Used as a vegetable, the outer or dropped leaves are also winter feed for cattle and sheep. Has a characteristic peppery taste and is traditionally cooked in a mutton stew.

Native Shetland Sheep

One of the smallest British breeds. It’s a local variation on the now extinct Scottish Dunface a Northern European short-tailed sheep first brought to Britain in the Iron Age. Extensively reared, they have access to grass pastures, vast tracts of heather hills and rugged shoreline. Shetland Lamb has a PDO and must be born, raised and slaughtered in Shetland. The meat of the Shetland lamb has been described as very tender and sweet. Available from Richard Briggs Shetland Lamb Tel:01595 840 227 Ronnie Eunson, Uradale Farm 880 689

Reestit Mutton

First salted in brine and then hung to dry traditionally in the rafters (Reest) of the house above the peat fire, whose smoke would help season the meat. Once dry, it will keep for years. The mutton has pale, creamy fat and deep red meat. It possesses a salty flavour due to the curing as well as a mature mutton flavour. The texture is hard and dry. Contact: Neil Watt, Scalloway Meat Company, Main Street Scalloway. Isles of Shetland ZE1 0TR Tel:01595 880 624. Rachel Hammond at Hammond Charcuterie.

Shetland Kye (Cattle)

This breed has been present in the Shetland Islands for the past 3000 years. Traditionally known as ‘The House Cow’, the Shetland Kye played an essential role in the life of the crofting family who would survive on milk, potatoes and flour. Shetland Cattle have great environmental benefits: wide muzzles cannot graze or crop pastures closely and so protect a wide range of ground-hugging wild flowers and herbs. In comparison to other cattle, Shetland Kye have lighter and broader hooves meaning that they are less likely to damage the soft ground. Ronnie Eunson, Uradale Farm Tel:01595 880 689


Peasemeal is flour made from ground yellow field peas. The peas are first roasted. The roasting caramelises some of the sugar, darkens the colour and increases the nutritive value by giving greater access to protein and starch. They are then ground through three sets of stones in a water-powered millstone. This produces a fine brown yellow powder with a varying texture. Available from Golspie Mill.

Musselburgh Leek

Scottish leeks are easily identified from other varieties by their long leaf (green flag) and short blanch (white). Musselburgh leeks are a short variety of Allium ampeloprasum with thick white stems. They also differ from the “London leek” that have more evenly-spaced leaves around the stem. Leeks have been grown within Scotland since the Middle Ages, and the Musselburgh leek was introduced to the market in 1834 from the area of Musselburgh, east of Edinburgh. They are the essential vegetable for cock-a-leekie soup, a traditional Scottish national dish. Seeds available from Seed Parade.

British Red Grouse

The Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus) is a medium-sized (single portion) game bird. Its plumage is reddish-brown (less red in the females) with a black tail and white legs. It is the only game bird to have feathers on its legs and feet, which help protect it in the cold and snow, and also unique amongst the other sub-species of grouse in that its plumage does not turn white in winter. The flesh is dark in colour and exceptionally rich in flavour. It has survived only on keepered heather moorlands, which are expensive to maintain and consequently large swathes have been lost to cheaper land use, making heather moorland now rarer than rainforest.


A wild seaweed that grows on the North Atlantic coast of Britain. Its Gaelic name is duileasg, and the fronds are long and membranous with a dark reddish-purple translucent hue. It formed part of a regular diet for coastal dwelling communities in Scotland and Northern Ireland for centuries, as it is highly rich in vitamins and minerals, and a good source of protein. t is a very versatile ingredient; it can be eaten raw, having a salty flavour and chewy texture, like a natural chewing gum. It can also be dried and consumed as a snack or added to broths and stews to enhance the flavour and act as a thickener. Available from Just Seaweed.

Boreray Sheep

Found mainly on Boreray Island in the St. Kilda group. They originated in the late 1800’s from a cross between the Blackface and a variety of the old Scottish Dunface/Tanface sheep from the Iron Age, which is now extinct so this is all that remains. When the people left St. Kilda in 1930, sheep were left behind on Boreray where they have been a feral flock ever since. In the 1970s, a small group of six animals was brought over to the mainland, but the mainland population is very small.

Soay Sheep

Small, brown to black coloured, with short tails and a single pair of horns, Soays were introduced to the British Isles between the Neolithic and Iron Age periods. They are considered as relics of unchanged breeds. Its name derives from the island’s name in the St Kilda group, but in Old Norse language, the word Seyðoy means ‘sheep island’. Nowadays, there are only between 900 and 1500 registered breeding Soay ewes. The breed is becoming smaller because of the change in climate. The meat is considered as lean, tender and low in cholesterol. It has a stronger flavour with a gamey taste compared to more common sheep breeds. Available from Cairngorm Reindeer Centre Aviemore PH22 1QU Tel:01479 861228

Skye Sea Salt

The existence of salt production on the coasts can be dated back more than 400 years, since salt was a vital resource for food preservation. In the far north west of Scotland, on the Isle of Skye, there were saltpans over 300 years ago.  In general, salt production was once a historically important industry in coastal Scotland and a major supplier of salt to the rest of Britain until the mid 19th century, when cheaper rock salt became easily available. Available from: Isle of Skye Sea Salt Tel:01470 532308

Artisan Scottish Crowdie

A traditional fresh Scottish cheese dating back to the Viking era, and possibly even back to the Picts, a tribal confederation of people who lived in early medieval periods. Traditionally made in every farmhouse on a small scale with milk from their traditional house cow – Ayrshire or Galloway, Highland, Black Angus, Fife Cattle (who is now extinct) or North Dairy Shorthorn. The traditional Crowdie Cheese is still made by some producers who make their pasteurized version with traditional methods, and use the milk from local traditional breeds of cows. Available from Dunlop Dairy, West Clerkland Farm Stewarton Ayrshire KA3 5LP Tel:01560 482494

Traditional Fresh Blood Black Pudding

Over the years it has become industrialized and although still popular, it is not what it once was, due to mass production and dried foreign blood imports. Few originals remain. One of the key issues is the disappearance of small abattoirs across Scotland. The traditional method requires fresh blood from the animals at slaughter and this becomes a critical issue if the beasts have to be slaughtered some distance from the butcher, charcuterie, or curer. The blood coagulates and transportation and feasibility becomes impractical. Available from John Lawson Butchers, West Lothian. Tullochs of Paisley Tel: 0141 884 6321

Traditional Finnan Haddie

It originates from northeastern Scotland, where its tradition can be traced back even further than the 18th century. The fish has to be salted and left to dry overnight. The particularity of the smoking process lies in the fact that the next day it is smoked over some soft ‘grey’ peat and green wood for eight to nine hours and then cooled and washed in warm, salted water.There are still few small independent smokers who follow the traditional method. Mass produced cold smoked haddock are called golden cutlets, whereas a true Finnan Haddie is the split headless whole gutted fish. Available from H S Murray, Inverkeithing Tel: 01383 412684 D R Collin & Son 34-36 Harbour Road Eyemouth Berwickshire TD14 5HT

Arbroath Smokie

A type of smoked haddock, the tradition of smoking these fish is said to have originated in the small fishing village Auchmithie, a little north of Arbroath in Scotland. The smoking used to be done using smoke pits prepared by women: a hole was dug in the ground and a half of whisky barrel set into it. The rods on which fish were hung were placed in the smoke-pit and smoked over oak or beech, covered with layers of hessian to trap the smoke. Smoking time takes about 45 minutes. Nowadays, people from the region continue to smoke in their backyards, selling to the local community. Available from Iain R Spink.

Anster Farmhouse cheese

In Scotland, the old cheeses were named after the nearest town or region and Anster is the old name for Anstruther and still used by older generations to this day. It is entirely made by the old methods with the traditional cows to the region and would at one time have been made by several producers. Nowadays, only one producer in Fife still produces the traditional farmhouse cheese, using the family’s heritage closed herd of cows, all bred on their farm. Available from St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Pittenweem KY10 2RT Tel:01333 312 580

Traditional Scottish Farmhouse cheese

This farmhouse cheese is a hard Ayrshire cheese, specifically traditional to the region and made from the specific breed of indigenous cows, the Ayrshire. The Ayrshire would have been the family cow across all smallholders and farmers and has good meat quality too, but it is for its rich creamy milk it is famed. Ayrshire was once world famous for its dairy industry – the mild damp climate perfect for rearing dairy cattle that would be used for cheesemaking, whilst the whey oft times was used for feeding pigs so Ayrshire bacon is often associated with the region too. Available from Barweys Dairy, Maybole, Ayrshire
KA19 7JS Tel:01655 750 163

Native Black Bees

These Scottish bees are dark, the ‘stripes’ on their abdomens look creamy or grey and they are especially black. The bees have longer hairs on their bodies than other honey bees (all the better for keeping warm in our cold weather). The honey — taste and colour — will depend on the flowers from which the bees take the nectar so will vary by district and season. There are few apiaries with pure Apis Mellifera Mellifera bees in the UK, but the largest is on the Isle of Colonsay, So honey from these bees is scarce but available from Colonsay and a few other places. Available from Colonsay Oysters and Honey

Scottish Dumpy chicken

Best known for its short legs, which produce a waddling gait, the Scots Dumpy is one of two native domestic fowl left in Scotland. Historical and archaeological evidence suggest that it is an ancient landrace breed, existing over 700 years ago. The bird has a large, low heavy body, which is longer in the back than most other breeds. The Scots Dumpy is a dual-purpose utility breed, docile by nature and suited to being kept on a smallholding or a back garden. The hen is a good layer yielding up to 180 white or tinted eggs per year. The short legs limit activity and exercise so that the bird gains weight well and requires less food to maintain weight. This also produces a softer and less lean muscle, which enhances the flavour and texture of the meat.

Scottish Grey chicken

An old breed of domestic chicken originating in Scotland in the sixteenth century, widely distributed in the west of the country during that time. The Scots Grey was known as a good utility bird as it was used for eggs and meat in ancient houses, crofts, and farms. The eggs are white to cream in colour and a good size for a lightweight breed. The hen lays 150-180 eggs per year, continuing through the winter. Free range chickens such as the Scots Grey would form a vital ingredient of ‘Cock-a-leekie soup, once egg production began to tail off. The slow grown healthy bones of the foraging fowl would help produce a tasty stock.

Pepper Dulse

Pepper dulse (Osmundea pinnatifida) is a red seaweed like the dulse (Palmaria palmata) also aboard the Ark of Taste. However, there are differences between the two. Palmaria palmate is a medium sized flat seaweed (10cm-40cm) which can be chewy raw and is used mainly dried, while others have found it to be unpalatable raw. Osmundea pinnatifida however is a smaller seaweed (1cm-6cm) and is delicious raw and dried. As fresh picked seaweed lasts only a few days it is often dried for a longer shelf life. The taste has a garlicky flavor, but dried it has an umami flavor. It’s known among chefs as the “Truffle of the Sea”. It grows along the West Coast of Scotland. Available from Just Seaweed on 01700 505 823 Galloway Wildfoods on 0780 305 0511

Shetland Duck, Goose and Hen

Shetland ducks are very rare and originate only from the Shetland Isles. The birds are found to be very hardy and are good foragers. This would have been necessary in years gone by, as they had to largely supplement their diet from the surrounding marshland and seashores of the croft. In foraging they would have played a part in reducing the burden of the internal parasites that may have affected some of the larger croft animals. Their eggs have a stronger flavour than a hen’s egg and their richness perfect for all dishes particularly savoury dishes using eggs. Their flesh is quite dark and full flavoured, with a distinctive richness.

The native Goose of the Shetland Islands is a compact, hardy goose. It is considered to be a domestic bird with Greylag ancestry and valued for their ability to thrive on grazing, fertilise the pasture, egg production, meat, and even down for insulation. They are dual-purpose birds which produce a reasonable number of white eggs per season if allowed (15-20 eggs), and a good carcass weight, all with no extra feeding other than adequate grazing. A breeding programme has been started on the Island of Trondra for the Shetland Geese. They are hardy and live off reasonable grazing so do well on crofts as a food source and as a valuable eater of parasites that would harm other animals.

Some believe the Shetland Hen to be a small black fowl around the size of a pigeon pointing to a fowl of bantam proportions. Others believe it was a heavier type of fowl. It was thought that the first type to be brought to the Islands was the smaller type that most resembles the wild ‘jungle fowl,’ the ancestor of all modern chicken. These were brought from the continent to the islands centuries ago. The second type was thought to have arrived on Shetland from Spain. There is a theory that they could have been brought to the islands by a Spanish galleon. The hens lay a good number of bantam-sized white eggs. Because these first have a long and happy life, they tend to be mature before they end their life, so a moist slow cooking method is both advisable and delicious.

Original Aberdeen Angus

Aberdeen Angus is a famous name and it is popular on menus across the world, but few realise that most of the time they are eating a cross bred animal at best (they are allowed to be called Aberdeen Angus when only sired by a bull, therefore 50% Aberdeen Angus) and black cattle at worst. It could be said that the modern Angus is trading very much on the reputation built by the original Angus breed. In contrast, the original Native Bred Aberdeen Angus is 100% pure bred from heritage, grass fed and traditionally reared beasts with no imported bloodlines. This breed is rich in flavour, with a hint of sweetness from the grass, juicy and with exquisite marbling throughout. The breed, feed, flavour and hanging from these traditional methods makes for a superb product. Available from Hardiesmill

Prestonfield Rhubarb

Prestonfield was built in 1687 for Sir James Dick, Lord Provost of Edinburgh from 1679 to 1681 during which time he used his own money to clean up the filthy streets of Edinburgh. The by-product was spread on his lands at Prestonfield – no doubt why later it was so fertile for his grandson, Sir Alexander Dick’s rhubarb, who inherited Prestonfield in 1746. Dick was President of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, and staked his medical reputation on rhubarb. Dr. Mounsey of St. Petersburg is thought to have brought him the seeds of True Rhubarb from Russia and Dick was first to cultivate rhubarb in Scotland. There are many references to him giving rhubarb to the great and good of 18th century Scotland, selling it to pharmacists and even sending a box of rhubarb to the Pope! Prestonfield is now a private hotel with the Prestonfield Rhubarb in their walled garden where their chefs have access to it and diners enjoy it.

Native Scottish Goat

These long-horned goats are probably descended from domesticated wild goats. Historically, there have been long established scattered populations over the more rugged hills of Scotland. Goats first appeared in Scotland before sheep, dating back as far as 8,000 years ago when there was still ice in Scotland. They have been used for cheese, milk and meat production in the past. Today milk and cheese production has gone. It is the only indigenous goat in Scotland – those used today for cheesemaking are imported breeds. The goats seek unpopulated and rugged places, off the beaten track. Currently only those who hunt them create access to the meat. According to research in Spain and Norway, goat meat is classified as the healthiest meat in the world for people with digestive problems. These goats have not been ‘developed’ and are eating from nature, creating distinctive qualities and a taste of terroir in their meat. It has a richness, and when slow cooked creates the most delicious casseroles. It is very versatile and can be dried, cured and made into sausages. The legs can be dried for charcuterie. Contact Head Stalker & Sporting Manager, West Highland Hunting, Ardnamurchan Tel:01972 500 775

Mr Little’s Yeltholm Gypsy potato

Mr Little’s Yetholm Gypsy is a distinctive and unique heritage potato with a name which summarises its historical connection to its original community. It has a unique colour with an eye­catching and distinctive red, white and blue patterned skin, and has a versatile flesh good for boiling, steaming and roasting. It has significant ties to the Scottish Borders town of Yetholm in terms of cultural heritage. Despite its appearance at international heritage potato festivals and events, it is only currently commercially grown and marketed in Scotland by one producer, based right on the border of Scotland and England. Available from Skea Organics or Carroll’s Heritage Potatoes.

Mountain Hare

The mountain hare (Lepus timidus scoticus) is genuinely native to the UK, unlike the more common Brown Hare or even the rabbit, both of which are introduced species. The mountain hare is smaller than the Brown Hare and its coat turns white in winter, one of the few UK species to display this behaviour. Their population appears to be declining though they are not uncommon in certain mountainous parts of Scotland. An iconic species, it has been revered and protected in ancient times as a mystical, almost supernatural animal. In the 18th and 19th centuries, hare (both brown and mountain) was a prized meat and eaten in country areas and available in town and city markets. Nowadays it is seen seldom in restaurants and is generally unavailable to the public unless there are contacts with the estates that cull the hares. It inhabits in remote, inhospitable landscapes and seen only by those prepared to make the effort to climb rough mountainous terrain. In terms of culinary use, a few game suppliers in Scotland can supply Mountain Hare, so it can get into the food chain, but it is very uncommon. If it does appear on menus, restaurants seldom identify the species.

Isle of Colonsay Wild Flower Honey

Isle of Colonsay Wildflower Honey is unique, not only because of its taste, but also because of its provenance: the small windswept island is the last place where the Native Scottish Black Bee can be found, which has also boarded the Ark of Taste.
In past centuries, there were Native Black Bees all across Scotland, but this isles of Colonsay and Oronsay are some of the last remaining havens, protected with reserve status by the Scottish Government to retain their biodiversity and prevent cross-breeding.
Deeply aromatic, with a powerful flavor, Isle of Colonsay Wildflower Honey varies naturally according to the foraging and seasons, but always reflects the unmistakable terroir of this remote isle, with a combination of nectar from thousands of Hebridean wildflowers. Heathery notes are quite strong and in season, wild thyme can be detected. Available from Colonsay Oysters and Honey

Original Belted Galloway Cattle

There is written evidence that there were Belted Galloways in Wigtownshire as as far back as 400 years ago. There are now just 75 breeding cows left from the original herd, and without this herd they would be in danger of extinction from cross-breeding.
Belties, as they are affectionately known, are long-lived, polled (i.e. without horns), fertile and maternal, producing calves at up to 15 years old. To ensure winter warmth, the Beltie has a double coat of curly hair rather than the layer of backfat most other breeds require, and they shed their coats in warmer weather. Belties are medium sized and thrive on winter rations and rough grazing, perfectly suited to turning rough hill pasture into the finest quality meat. They are adapted for the upland Galloway district, a rugged and hilly coastal region where hardiness is necessary for survival. They are prized for their excellent meat, which is finely marbled and flavoursome due to the foraged herbs.

Barra Snails

The first monastic buildings were established on Barra in 620 AD. The monks’ lifestyle involved fasting and during these periods meat was not allowed but the Roman Catholic Church allowed the eating of fish, and snails, for this purpose, were classified as fish, and most certainly came in these early centuries with the monks. Later on Barra was used as a recluse for monks wishing solitude and once again snails would have been consumed. Barra lay on the sea route taking Irish mariners to the Faeroes, Iceland and beyond.

The unique natural clean island maritime air, the banning of pesticides on Barra and the herbage of the machair make this island snail unique. The snails flourish on the calcium-rich machair of Barra, where a mild wet climate mixes with the alkaline sandy soil to produce ideal conditions for the snails to grow. It is this remoteness that contributes to the quality of Barra’s snails. Available from Isle of Barra Oyster Co

Scottish Salt Herring

In the late 19th century, Scotland became the world’s largest producer of salt herring. About ninety per cent of the cured fish was exported – shipped in wooden barrels – mostly to Eastern Europe, Russia, Scandinavia and Germany where the Scottish cure was highly esteemed.
Though this export trade declined in the 20th century, the cure continued to be popular in the areas around the Scottish coast where herring continued to be salted in barrels for domestic use. It remained an important – and much relished – item of the people’s diet. The curing method handed down from one generation to the next was the most practical solution of preserving the highly perishable herring.

There are fewer retail outlets today selling salt herring than there were twenty years ago so it is often hard to find. On the other hand there are still domestic curers, particularly in the crofting areas where the cure is highly esteemed and a ‘Tatties an Herrin’ dinner cause for special celebration. Available from  Blyd’O’It Fishshop, Blydoit Industrial Estate East Voe, Scalloway Tel:01595 880 011 Jolly’s of Orkney, Kirkwall Tel: 01856 872 414 Pierowall Fish, Westray, Orkney Tel:01857 677 471

Cambusnethan Pippin

This is an old Scottish variety that, according to one source, originated at the Cambusnethan Monastery where it was known as ‘Cam’nethan Pippin’ while another suggested it was raised by Mr. Paton, gardener at Cambusnethan House in 1750s. Either way, the Cambusnethan Pippin is of Clyde Valley origin. This valley has a special micro-climate that made it particularly popular for growing fruits (and was also very famous for its tomatoes).

It dates from pre-1750 and like so many heritage varietals fell into disuse with the monoculture growing methods, mass production and also the post war building of housing estates swallowing up orchards across Scotland. Trees from Scottish Fruit Trees, 2 Kelvinside Terrace West Glasgow Lanarkshire G20 6DA Tel:0778 606 3918

Beauty of Moray Apple

This is an old Scottish cooking apple, first recorded in 1883, a favorite in the North of Scotland.
It is a hardy, moderately vigorous tree with attractive small pink blossoms, noted for its beauty – hence the name. It flowers mid-season in the north of Scotland, thus overlapping with almost all other trees, so pollination is not a problem, and it is less susceptible to frost.

The fruit is sharp and needs to be cooked with added natural sweetener (honey for example). It cooks to a frothy creamy puree, ideal for apple sauce for savory dishes such as pork, and sweet pies, served as dessert. As it is high in pectin, so it is also ideal for jellies and baking. It can be used in conjunction with berries that are lower in pectin to produce delicious jams. Available from The Appletreeman, Middlebank Cottage, Smiths Brae, Bankfoot, Moray-shire PH1 4AH Tel:01738 787278

The Buttery or Rowie

A unique breakfast item with a distinctive crispy, flaky, flattened structure similar to a croissant, associated with Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. It has a pronounced buttery, salty taste. The buttery is produced commercially but with fats such as palm oil and marg, posing a threat to the original product.It is a very popular locally and unheard of elsewhere. In 1899 an Arbroath street-seller’s breadbasket was mentioned to contain “butteries.” It was taken onboard boats by fishermen sailing from Aberdeen. Its high fat content, often meat dripping, provided a concentrated source of energy and this in addition to its salt content give the product a long shelf life.

Arran Victory Potato 

Cultivated on the Isle of Arran for, and named in celebration of the end of WW1 in 1918. Its defining feature is the deep purple-blue hue of its skin and whiter-than-most within. It has a special place in Scottish history with a specific region, from one of the Inner Hebridean isles. Because of its excellent flavour it is beginning to find a resurgence of interest. It is available from a few heritage potato seed growers and grown in kitchen gardens. Not available in shops. Thankfully the Arran Victory is still around, in very small numbers, but interest is growing due to its flavour.

James Grieve Apple

Considered a very Scottish variety with strong historic links to Edinburgh. It is sharp and juicy – a delicious and attractive apple. Mr Grieve bred his own variety of apple whilst working at Dickson & Son Nursery. It is becoming more popular as a garden variety again having been out of fashion and rare to find. It is a dual-purpose apple variety, raised in the height of the Victorian period of apple development. James Grieve was developed around 1893 and James Grieve received the Award of Merit in 1897 and First Class Certificate in 1906 from the Royal Highland Show in 1993.

Hebridean Sheep 
These sheep are direct descendants of the ancient North European short tailed sheep that came to Scotland 8 thousand years ago. Small, hardy and lively ewes rarely weighing more than 40kg. Eaten on the archipelago of the Hebrides with a few cooks and chefs seeking it out by mail order on the mainland.
They don’t come much more unique than the Guga, Gaelic for Gannet, harvested and prepared by a special group of 10 Ness men once a year for 2 weeks on the isle of Sùlaisgeir (Gannet Skerry), Sula being the Scandinavian word for Gannet. Sùlaisgeir is a desolate rocky isle over 40 miles(64km) out in the Atlantic, a risky journey in itself, to hunt the young gannets.The Guga Hunt has been a tradition in Ness, North Lewis, since before the 15th century. Traditionally the preserved birds formed an essential part of the winter diet for the people of Ness.It is still fundamental to their life, their place on this planet and their food heritage. It is considered a delicacy.
Rouge d’Ecosse
It will be more than a century since this grain has been available in Scotland and now, thanks to Scotland the Bread, it will be on the market again. Scotland The Bread has toiled to bring Scottish grain back to Scotland, with friendship and support from other heritage grain experts such as Hans Larsson in Sweden. Rouge d’Ecosse wheat is, despite its French name, an old Scottish variety probably descended from the ancient British wheat Blood Red.
The Gordon Castle Plum
The plum was bred by John Webster, head gardener at Gordon Castle near Fochabers in Moray and first recorded in 1864. It is a late dessert plum from the north of Scotland. The fruit is soft and juicy and best eaten when really ripe. One of the few plums native to Scotland.
The Selkirk Bannock 
A famous Border baked treat, a richly fruited bread dough, individually hand made, traditionally served at afternoon tea. It is recorded as the only thing that Queen Victoria would eat when she visited Sir Walter Scott in 1867 and The Selkirk Bannock is first mentioned in 1819 in Scott’s poem The Bride of Lammermoor. Almost all commercial versions have margarine, e-numbers, vegetable fat and/or preservatives in order to mass-produce for a long shelf life. Iain is 7th generation of his family’s business, Campbells Bakery. His is rich and buttery, totally traditional, handmade and delicious with not an e number in sight.

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