I (Ally) had the fantastic opportunity to be a part of Nourish Food Leaders Programme for a week in July hosted by Nourish Scotland in the beautiful setting of Comrie Croft. The week for me was intense and deeply nourishing as I was in a room full of #nourishfoodleaders who were people connected to food in Scotland in such a variety of inspiring ways. While it is quite hard to distil my whole week, I’d like to share a few words and photos from one particularly inspirational day for me- a visit to the Falkland Estate followed by a foraging walk, a feast of epic proportions and a traditional ceilidh. A small group of popped by Pillars of Hercules to say hello before heading to meet Rosy and Bryde who are both new farmers (along with their partners) through the Centre for Stewardship’s New Farmers Scheme who are growing food on ground they have leased from Falkland Estate. They are growing food organically and are selling in local markets and farmers markets across the East of Scotland. Its wonderful to see new farmers and some lady farmers!
We first toured Meadowsweet Organics farmed by Rosy & David who grow organic medicinal, culinary and wildcrafted herbs available fresh or dried as well as beautiful local grown cut flowers and fresh vegetable and salad crops grown market garden style. Rosy is currently studying to be a herbalist and is already drying and selling herbs- hoping to continue to grow that aspect of the business.
FALKLAND KITCHEN FARM
We then walked over to the neighbouring field to see Falkland Kitchen Farm farmed by Bryde & Nat. Whilst growing lots of classic veg they also love indulging adventurous cooks, like themselves, with interesting and exciting varieties. In the coming months they will be using herbs grown on the farm to create an exciting range of culinary sauces. Along with growing salad crops and fresh vegetables they keep buckfast honeybees which was particularly brilliant for me to see. The biodiversity was evident and really inspiring.
FALKLAND ESTATE ORCHARD
We headed up the hill to a young orchard with 4 eating varieties of organic apples and met Ninian Stuart, the hereditary keeper of Falkland Palace who was very warm & welcoming. Over lunch we chatted about history & land reform & community engagement & community empowerment and came away with our heads buzzing with excitement and possibility for Scotland’s future.Once we returned to Comrie we had a brief debrief of the day and then had a walk round. We were lead on our expedition by Mark Williams- foraging guru– and saw lots of cool fungi (not all photos above are of edible ones!) and plants and excitingly ate them for dinner! It was a pure joy to taste so many wonderful foods that are all around us every day. Clem taught us to make and cook Bannocks in their traditional form while we were serenaded by Fergus on flute & pipies and Rachel on fiddle . It was a outdoor feast of epic proportions. The evening celebrated a birthday and then turned towards a traditional Ceilidh with songs poems stories and laughter. The day was pure gold and I think we all went to bed that night feeling inspired, empowered and a little enchanted!