There are exciting times ahead in Crail as their first official food festival draws ever closer. With many local producers now confirmed to be taking part in the festival, I was fortunate enough to chat with Nikki from Ardross Farm, whose family firmly do their bit to promote local produce. Having farmed in the local community for over a century, the Ardross family saw the benefits in opening up the fruits of their labour to the hungry folk of Fife. Their venture has proved hugely successful, culminating in a broad customer base, which spans across Fife and beyond. The business has retained its family values, with Nikki now managing the farm shop. Despite the till constantly ringing, Nikki still found time to answer a few of my questions about Ardross Farm shop, and the part they are soon to play in the Crail Food Festival.
How did you become involved in the Crail Food Festival?
I met Graham at a meeting, and at that point, the festival itself was in the early planning stages. We were asked to contribute to this, due to the positive relationship we have with a number of local food producers, and being passionate about local produce, we were more than happy to help.
What were your initial thoughts when you were asked to become involved?
From the outset, I was really excited about the festival. I was aware of how much work would be involved in piloting it, but with the wealth of produce that Fife has to offer, I knew with the right people on board it could be a success. At Ardross Farm, we are ready and willing to fly the flag for anything that helps to put the East Neuk of Fife on the map.
How much of the produce you sell is produced on Ardross Farm?
Around 40% of our sales can be attributed to home grown produce. The majority of the remaining 60% comes from the sale of local products.
Why do you think people are more inclined to shop in supermarkets, rather than make better use of local amenities?
Some people don’t have the option. There has been a decline in local shops recently, and the ones that do still exist don’t have the same buying power as supermarkets. They have the ability to bulk buy, which in turn drives down the price for the customer. For other people it’s a case of convenience. That’s why we were so keen to be involved in the Crail Food Festival, as it’s a great opportunity to show people how spectacular the local produce is, with the added benefit that it’s right on their doorstep.
Finally, what makes Fife produce so special?
We have a melting pot of local produce, the key being in the word local. Why opt for food that has travelled land and sea, when we have a landscape rich in opportunity. With spectacular sea food, fresh vegetables, some of the best barley the world has to offer, not to mention the lamb and venison. It’s the quality of this produce that’s igniting interest in Fife’s food. And when you need a break from your own kitchen, visit one of the many tearooms and restaurants in the local area that are proud users of the local bounty. Being surrounded by all of this should surely help to cement Fife as one of the true champions of fresh, local produce.