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January 25-27

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April 24, 2015

This year’s Crail Food Festival will be the 5th time the village of Crail has played host to visitors from near and far looking to sample the delights of Fife’s abundant larder and visiting the corner of Fife affectionately known as the East Neuk.

As soon as the last stall had been dismantled on the successful 2014 Crail Food Festival, the team met in the sunny garden of the Honeypot Guest House and Tearoom, ready to go over the highs and lows of the event and work out what we needed to do to stage our next festival as part of Scotland’s celebration of the 2015 Year of Food and Drink.  All through the winter months there have been regular meetings and plans being drawn up.  Part of that planning was the acknowledgement that we had come to the stage in our development where we should set up a separate legal structure to run the affairs of the Crail Food Festival.  At the Open Meeting held in January in Crail, the Scottish Incorporated Charitable Organisation or SCIO was agreed to be the correct structure, and Trustees have now been appointed to take that forward.

They are:

David Jerdan (Chairman)
Manuela Calchini (Trustee)
Graham Anderson (Trustee)
David Mann (Trustee)
Alan Hood (Trustee)

The remainder of the team helping to bring the event together are:

Annie Marrs (Festivals In Fife)
Julien Poix (La Petite Epicerie)
Susan McNaughton (Social Media Manager)
Peter Salkeld (Event Manager)
Martha Bryce (PR Manager)
Claire Bradley (Childrens Champion)

Each of those involved brings a wealth of different skills necessary to bring together a varied and interesting event.  At the meeting held on 23 April, the majority were able to come together to hear more about the exciting programme which Graham Anderson has conceived for this year.  We’re opening with a couple of evening events on the 12 June, when the Kirk Hall will be turned into an intimate venue for dining by the lovely Lazy Sunday team, and the Town Hall will transform for a celebration of chocolate with a Film Night.  The transformations continue in time for the opening of our venues on Saturday for the Food Emporium, Cookery Theatre (where we’ll have an array of quality local chefs demonstrating their skills), Meet the Producer, Pop-Up Food and Drink options in the Marketgate, the Chocolate Larder and a Children’s Fun Area at the Marine Hotel with games and activities, and tasty food to enjoy.  The fun continues on Sunday where in addition to all of our Saturday venues, Crail Harbour will once again welcome the crowds and the sunshine (be positive!).  Tickets are set to go on sale on 12 May, so be sure to sign up for our newsletter to hear more.

glorious setting for the 5th Crail food Festival

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April 21, 2015

The sun is out (at least for now) and the Crail Food Festival is quickly approaching. In case you’re not familiar, the three-day event showcases businesses from around Scotland and beyond. It’s an opportunity to celebrate as a community and indulge in the bounty this land has to offer. It’s also a chance to meet passionate people actively elevating the local food scene. One of those people is Debbie Riley of The Good Granola Company. You didn’t meet her at last year’s festival because back then her business was just a dream. This year she’s taken on the not-so-small task of building a business from the ground up. Her mission? To fuel people’s adventurous lifestyles, one homemade batch of granola at a time, and believe me, she’s more than qualified.

Debbie is a hobby cook with a big appetite for the outdoors. When she’s not busy at her day job or hiking Scotland’s breathtaking peaks with her husband, she’s at home lovingly toasting oats with the hopes that people will fall in love with granola the way she has. She and I were paired up for the Crail Food Fest blog series and our partnership could not have been more perfect.

Eating well is very important to me but I am very busy and don’t always take the time to properly cook for myself. It’s challenging to carve out time for creative writing and exercise on top of keeping up with two toddlers and maintaining some semblance of sanity. Healthy snacks and quick breakfasts are staples in our household.

After a curious exploration of The Good Granola Company site I was eager to meet Debbie and hear about her entrepreneurial adventure. When she asked for my address so she could send me granola, my hungry heart skipped a beat.

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After receiving my enormous parcel and completely devouring the samples, she and I connected for an interview. Why granola?
My husband and I lead a very active lifestyle. We both work hard and have lots of sporting hobbies, the main one being mountaineering. We tend to travel a lot. I think lots of people are in the same situation these days, where they are trying to juggle different priorities and generally find themselves busy a lot of the time. I tried granola from the supermarkets before but wasn’t overly impressed. Then on a family trip my mum brought along her homemade granola and I absolutely loved it! I find it perfect for my busy lifestyle because it provides a good fuel while still being nutritious, tasty and interesting to eat.

Tell me something I likely do not know about your granola.
Unlike a lot of other cereal products, my base mixture only contains natural sweeteners: apple juice, honey and dried fruits. The apple juice and honey are mixed with dried jumbo oats and then baked at a low temperature which gives the oats a nice crunchy texture. I also have one variety that has some chocolate chips added, for those with a sweet tooth.

Granola is a versatile staple and I see you’ve got lots of recipes on your blog. What is your favourite way to enjoy your product?
You’re right. One of the big appeals of granola its versatility. It’s traditionally considered to be a breakfast food, eaten with milk or yoghurt, but I’ve managed to incorporate it into just about every meal. I am a big fan of bircher muesli and I made a passionfruit mango version  with granola which turned out really well, giving it a bit of extra crunch. I also love it in a parfait, which is granola mixed with yoghurt and a fruit compote of some variety. I have a parfait recipe online using homemade lemon curd which my husband adored. That made a really nice dessert. There is also a banana and date oat smoothie  on there that I am very fond of. You can find all my recipes on the company blog.

The Good Granola Company

The granola in the purple packaging – banana cashew was it? It disappeared in no time. I even had a hard time taking a photo of it with my hungry daughter in the room. What makes it so delectably addictive?
Haha! I’m so glad to hear that! It is a very popular choice. I’ve tried to go with slightly less standard combinations. I love both banana and cashews and they seemed a good match. The coconut gives it a slightly more tropical taste which is always nice when our weather is far from tropical. One thing that I’ve really focussed on is having a lot of the stated flavour in my final product. All four flavours that I currently offer have less than 50% oats, meaning lots of fruit, nuts and seeds in each bite. People should be able to decipher the flavour simply by looking inside the packet. If it says ‘banana, cashew and coconut’ on the outside, I want you to be able to find lots of those ingredients inside. (Check out the other flavours on the online shop )

What is The Good Granola Company’s legacy going to be?
I want my granola to make people jump out of bed in the morning. I want it to excite and inspire them to do more with their day. The business is still in the early days and I have loads of ideas for the future but for now I am looking forward to sharing my granola with a new audience at the festival.

This year will be your first at the festival. What are you most excited about?
The massive buzz and vibrant atmosphere! I’ve seen the event programme and list of exhibitors and it looks like we’re in for a real treat. It’s the first time I’ll be exhibiting at such a sizeable event. I’ve visited similar events and always have a great time browsing stalls and discovering new products. It is an honour to have my own stall and contribute to the Crail Food Festival’s success in a small way. The prospect that people might discover my granola as their new favourite product is super exciting.

Who are you looking forward to meeting?
Everyone! Everyone is welcome to visit my stall, from die-hard granola fans to those who have never heard of granola, let alone tasted it. I like to think that being a small business owner means being approachable so please stop by. I love to hear about other people’s daily adventures – I believe we each have a good story to tell. I’m looking forward to meeting all of you.
The Good Granola Company
Just out of curiosity, what would your last meal on earth be and why?
It would have to be that passionfruit and mango bircher I mentioned earlier because it’s all my favourite foods in one dish. Oh, and I’d want a really nice cup of coffee on the side. I am very partial to good coffee! Great question. What would yours be? Ha! Something far less healthy. I fear I am ashamed to put it in print.

Moving on, what’s the next adventure for The Good Granola Company?
We just got the online store fully operational so we can keep people stocked up after the festival by delivering granola straight to their door. Later in the year there will be some seasonal flavours on offer. I would also like to work towards accommodating different dietary requirements and I have a few mountain trips planned to help feed my insatiable love of the outdoors. It’s the perfect way to test my product. 

Debbie will be at the festival on Sunday 14 June 2015. You’ll find her at the indoor market. Be sure to swing by her stall and enjoy a taste of her granola. She promises to have plenty of the banana cashew flavour (and all the others) on hand. Get there before my daughter eats it all.

The Good Granola Company
www.thegoodgranolacompany.co.uk
@goodgranolaco

Elissa Joy Watts
www.elissajoywatts.com
@elissajoywatts


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April 17, 2015

What’s in a name?  Well, quite a lot in this case, as the change from Eden Brewery to Eden Mill for this St Andrews-based business is a significant one.

Brewing a range of fine local ales only since 2012, Eden Brewery quickly established a following and a huge reputation for the quality of its beers,  with brews like their Spring Blonde Ale, Shipwreck IPA and Seggie Porter becoming firm favourites in both bottle and cask. However the ambition and lateral thinking of the Eden team, led by owner Paul Miller and Head Brewer Scott Gowans, could perhaps best be seen in their range of limited edition whisky cask-finished special brews. Carefully produced ales finished in casks from Eradour, Ardbeg and others top distilleries produced uniquely flavoured – and strong – beers that were lapped up by aficionados.

So was the next step the logical one?  Last year Paul Miller announced that he had secured planning permission to extend their premises, not solely to up beer production, but to begin distilling with their own range of single malt whiskies and gins.

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That makes Eden Mill Scotland’s first – and so far only – all-in-one brewery and distillery, hence that change of name: the new full name being ‘Eden Mill Distillery & Brewing’.

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In fact their ex-paper mill premises is a hugely apt location for the new venture, because if you could travel back to the early 19th century you would find distilling and brewing happening on that very site. Eden Mill see their new venture as a revival of ancient traditions, going back to a time when: “tradition, craft and artisanship were revered.” They promise their spirits will be just as high quality and just as rooted in their Fife homeland as their beers, made from “locally, ethically sourced ingredients from our very own, verdant garden or the fecund forests, farms and coastline of Fife.”

Whisky-wise, the focus is on a range of small-batch, hand-crafted single malts aged in the finest casks from Jerez in Spain. Most will have an outrun of just 300 or so bottles – though you can of course purchase your very own cask.   Gin lovers will love the exotic botanicals used to distil their crystal-clear, highly aromatic spirits, like red rose petals, marshmallow root, goji berries and whole hibiscus flowers, with some of the flavourings sourced from St Andrews very own Botanical Gardens.

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Those tasting the Eden Mill beers or spirits at this year’s Crail Food Festival are in for a treat, but note that Eden Mill will also welcome you on a tour at their facility in Guardbridge, St Andrews, full details on http://edenmill.com/

Author : Tom Cannavan

Websites: http://www.wine-pages.com http://www.thewinegang.com http://www.beer-pages.com http://www.whisky-pages.com
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Twitter: @winepages
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Events: Wine Gang Live Events

Producer: Eden Mill Distillery & Brewing
Website: http://edenmill.com/
Facebook: Eden Mill Distillery & Brewing
Twitter: @EdenMillSTA
Instagram: EdenMillStAndrews


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April 10, 2015

I was delighted to be asked to be part of the Crail Food Festival blogging team again this year and even more delighted to learn that my assignment would take me to Ardross Farm Shop in Elie. I had heard Ardross mentioned for quite some time in rather hallowed tones and had always wanted to pay it a visit – well you know how much I love a good farm shop!

Ardross Farm Shop

The rain kindly stayed away on the morning the Cameron family headed up to Elie and we were all in fine fettle. N was fixated on the possibility of seeing a cow and having a go on a tractor. I was just – well – hungry and B saw the farm outing as an excuse to don his hunter wellies.

Ardross Farm Shop

The Pollock family have been in the farming business for generations, having moved east from Ayrshire to this stunning part of Fife. They have a herd of very happy and healthy Stabiliser cows, which may little bit smaller than some other breeds but they virtually calf themselves and are great at suckling due to a pretty stress free birth. The calves get all the good nutrients from their mother right away which bears future rewards in terms of a robust immune system. The cows at Ardross live their lives in the great outdoors, grazing on nutrient rich meadow pastures or crops which are being produced on the farm itself.

Ardross Farm Shop

This is the second farm I have visited in the last year and what has struck me with both has been the emphasis put on the welfare and happiness of the animals. It really is of paramount importance to the Pollock family that the herd are raised in a traditional manner in as stress free an environment as possible. I was interested to learn that when cows are reared in this way there is little need for the use of antibiotics – this just makes good sense to me. The meat from the cows I met is made into a mouth watering range of roasts, sausages, burgers, beef olives and more. I will get onto the taste test soon but I can let you know now that it is damn fine.

Claire of Ardross Farm Veg

Of course it is not just about the beef here at Ardross – they also grow more than 50 varieties of vegetables, and apart from one of two compromises their shop is faithful to the seasons and the veg is picked fresh every morning. I learned a little about how unique this is and how old some of my super market produce might be by the time it makes its way onto my plate. You don’t want to know but what you probably want to do is get ye to your local farm shop.

The shop is award winning for a reason. As soon as you walk in you are greeted with a riot of colour from the freshest and most inviting vegetable display I have ever seen. The last time I saw fresh produce that looked this good was in the outdoor market of France or Italy when I have been on holiday. It is a million miles away from the display of plastic wrapped ‘same size’ offerings in the local supermarket.

Ardross Farm Shop Baskets

Ardross sell both meat in the chiller and a large range of frozen meat. This is so that they can keep things as fresh as possible for their customers. As it was a while before we were heading home we bought a fair abundance of meat from the chiller. Beef Olives were first in the basket – a favourite from childhood when I called them Biffalows. Junior suggested sausages (of course). Burgers for the boy and some beef to create a hearty stew. To accompany our array of meat we were gifted an amazing veggie box which included a carrot which was taller than a bottle of wine! Other goodies included a swede, beetroot, kale, cabbage and onion. As well as their own produce there is also an array of goodies from artisan suppliers – in went fudge, cheesy straws and some gourmet crisps.

For those of you who are thinking that this farm shop malarkey is ok if you have the money can I just tell you that the meat and veg at Ardross is keenly priced making it affordable for all of us to eat good food.

They have come along way from a painted shed with a bell which sounded in the farm-house signalling to the family that they had a customer. Ten years on and the family (for it is indeed a true family affair) have not only a successful farm but a thriving farm shop on their hands. Nikki who is at the helm of the farm shop has grand plans for expansion but her dreams are kept in check by her sister Claire, who is an accountant turned farmer, and indeed one of the most exciting and interesting young farmers I have ever come across. Anyway watch this space with regards to what happens next.

So how did the food actually taste? Fantastic. I have here a picture of the stew I made, which would have been nice with any meat ( I am a very good stew maker) but was absolutely stunning with the beef from Ardross. It was melt in the mouth and tasted like stew my granny used to make before we all went to supermarkets. I included the carrot, onion and kale in the stew and on the side I made a celeriac and carrot mash with lots of crème fraiche and pepper. It was beautiful.

Ardross Farm beef stew

This blog could last forever but I must attempt to wrap things up a little with some final observations. It never fails to leave me in awe when I meet people who have so much passion for what they do, and that passion shines through in what they produce. Rob, Fiona, Nikki and Claire are the most passionate family I have met – they live and breathe their business and you can’t help but be infected by their enthusiasm.

So this summer I suggest we all reconnect with our food and a good first step is paying a visit to Ardross Farm Shop. I may live 45 minutes drive away but I know I will be back.

Ardross Farm Shop

Crail Food Festival – Producer:
Ardross Farm Shop will be at Crail Food Festival’s Food Emporium on Saturday, and are supporting the Crail Kirk Hall Cookery Theatre throughout the weekend.

Facebook: Ardross Farm Shop on Facebook
Twitter: @ArdrossFarmShop @ArdrossFarmVeg
Instagram: ArdrossFarmShop
Pinterest: Ardross Farm Shop

Author: Hazel Cameron

Blog: The Grumbling Tummy
Twitter:@thegrumblingtum