Over recent years, there have been general concerns over a lack of community spirit, with the media urging us to believe that this sense of community has now been shelved, and people are far more detached from their neighbours. In the Fife community, this couldn’t be further from the truth, and having been fortunate enough to work with the lovely people that are participating in the Crail Food Festival, I feel privileged to have seen how their passion for local produce has encouraged them to unite. This has very much been the case with the relationship that has developed between Castle Garden Flowers and Ardross Farm. A venture that has been in place since March of this year, Sue Rabjohns and Karen Wilkieson talked nicely to Fiona and Nikki Pollock of Ardross Farm, who kindly allowed them to grow salads, flowers and herbs in the Ardross Farm garden, which they then sell in the farm shop. I had a chat with Sue about Castle Garden Flowers and their involvement in the Crail Food Festival.
Castle Garden Flowers has been with us since March of this year, what made you undertake this venture?
The idea came to us around a year ago. Karen and I are both keen gardeners with a particular passion for herbaceous perennials. We were in the process of looking for a suitable site to establish a nursery, when Karen became aware of the possibility of setting this up within the beautiful walled garden at Ardross Farm. This encouraged us to have a chat with Fiona and Nikki at the farm and set up Castle Garden Flowers.
What sort of produce do you sell at the Ardross Farm Shop?
We sell flowers, herbs and salad leaves. Our pot grown herbs are proving popular, and we are looking to extend the range over the coming weeks. We have also really enjoyed the challenge of ensuring we grow enough salad leaves to supply the farm shop on a daily basis.
How did you become involved in the Crail Food Festival?
We attended the Fife Diet East launch event at Kellie Castle earlier this year, where there was already a buzz around the festival. We knew that there would be many like minded locals and producers involved, which was an added incentive. Teamed with the fact that Karen and I are passionate about both eating and supporting locally grown produce, we were happy to give up our time and promote the cause in any way we could.
In your opinion, what makes Fife produce so special?
The East Neuk is blessed with a fantastic range of produce. This should be more readily acknowledged, and people should be encouraged to take greater advantage of it. With concerns over climate change and the rise in petrol prices, we have a greater responsibility than ever before to both think and shop local.