Family-run business All About Lemons is devoted to making fresh, artisan food produce and gifts featuring, you guessed it… lemons.
Founded by Joyce Scott in 2015, the talented baker whips up a range of tasty sweet and savoury treats including cheesecake, pavlova, cupcakes, ice cream, roulade, soup, salad, rice, and the business’ well-loved lemon curd.
The business owner is constantly experimenting with the zingy ingredient in her kitchen, describing it as wonderfully versatile with the ability to lift ordinary dishes to something really special.
But what was it that made Joyce eager to launch her own business? We caught up with her to find out more about All About Lemons and where Joyce’s love for baking and cooking stemmed from.
Let’s get right to it. What exactly does All About Lemons offer?
When I started the business, I only made lemon curd – hence the name. But I now make lemon fudge, lemon marmalade and lemon cheesecake plus a variety of different cakes and biscuits.
I also use lemons in some savoury products such as pesto and pickled shallots. I’m always experimenting with new recipes.
That all sounds delicious! Tell us a bit more about when the business was launched.
April 2015 was the official start of All About Lemons. It was at this time that I decided it was time to put my cooking activities on a business footing by setting up a domain name, creating a brand and establishing a website.
Fortunately, at the time I was managing director of a marketing company so was able to work closely with my graphic designer and web developer to achieve my aims.
Did you always have a love for baking?
I’ve had an extremely varied and interesting life so far and getting into the food industry has been the latest development.
Initially, I had a career as a veterinary nurse. Then, after having had a family, went back to university to study languages, followed by a post graduate degree in marketing with languages. This led to me working as a marketing consultant and then managing director of a marketing agency.
I’ve always been very keen on cooking but had never considered a career in the food industry. It seems to be something that a lot of people come to later in life when their circumstances change, but I’d encourage any young people considering their career choices to give it some serious thought as there are a lot of different opportunities.
At the end of the day, we all have to eat so there will always be a demand for good food.
All About Lemons was once just a hobby but it soon became clear that there were not enough hours in the day to do everything. It was at that point that I decided to concentrate on food.
What was it that really encouraged you to start the business?
It was finding out that selling at farmers’ markets was a relatively easy way to start selling my produce that encouraged me to start up.
In the beginning, I wasn’t sure if I had to have commercial premises to operate from, which would have been a real barrier. However, I learnt that home kitchens are allowed as long as they are inspected and passed by the Council’s Environmental Health department. There was quite a steep learning curve as far as record-keeping was concerned but the council were very helpful in giving me the information I needed.
Farmers’ markets are an excellent way for a new business to test the market without any major expense or commitment.
So did you use farmers’ markets as a way of promoting your brand?
Yes, they have really been my main way of getting my business’ name known. But my website is also a useful tool as I have an online shop which is very popular, especially just now when people are not able to get out and about as much as normal.
I do use social media a little to let people know the dates of the markets and so on, but I don’t have the patience to spend a lot of time on it.
You mentioned that you’re always working on new recipes, what inspires you most when experimenting?
I suppose I’m a bit selfish when it comes to creating new recipes. If I don’t like something, it doesn’t get out of the kitchen.
I like to take ideas from recipe books or online then adapt them to my taste, which usually means seeing if they work with the addition of either fresh or preserved lemons.
I’ve just adapted an orange biscuit recipe to using lemons and I’m very happy with the results, so that one will be added to my repertoire this year.
Customers occasionally suggest ideas and I’m always happy to try new recipes at least once. But to date, my fresh lemon curd, fudge, cheesecake, and lemon and kale pesto are my best sellers.
You have a number of best sellers, but what product of yours is your personal favourite?
My lemon curd is by far my favourite – 100% taste, 0% additives. It has such a fresh flavour and can be used in so many dishes.
I was in a restaurant in Glasgow a few years ago and had a smoked salmon dish that had a drizzle of lemon curd on it. It was unusual but it really worked. The salty fish was complemented by the tangy curd.
I take pride in being a wholefood cook and never use any artificial additives or processed ingredients.
How big is the team? Do you use local ingredients in your recipes?
The ‘team’ in the kitchen is only me! I have considered employing people in order to grow the business but to be honest, the employment legislation and costs associated with taking on staff don’t make it a viable option.
Also, I enjoy the flexibility of working as and when I want to, especially as the business was always meant to be a part-time retirement project.
With regards to using local produce, I buy from Scottish suppliers as much as possible as I think it’s vital to support local businesses.
Food producers in the area are very good at supporting each other by buying each other’s produce. However, until some enterprising soul with a biomass generator or other supply of free electricity starts growing lemons in heated greenhouses in Scotland, they have to come from Spain and South Africa.
How far afield do you distribute your bakes and dishes to?
I only attend local farmers’ markets but my online shop sells all over the UK. Plus, during the summer months, a lot of tourists buy the lemon curd to take home so it gets all over the world.
Would you say you have succeeded in creating a brand you’re proud of?
I am proud of the brand I’ve created. My core product is lemon curd and it’s something that has had a rather old-fashioned reputation. So many of my customers tell me it’s something their granny used to make. I wanted to set out to bring it back to life with a contemporary look in order to introduce it to a new, younger audience. I like to think that I’ve achieved that.
I hand out flyers with recipe ideas of how to use lemon curd as it’s a very versatile product with many uses beyond spreading it on toast.
What have you loved most about running your own business?
I love running my own business. I’m quite meticulous in what I do and I enjoy doing every aspect of it from planning what to make, to cooking, to going to markets and even doing the paperwork.
After retiring from my previous business, All About Lemons was really meant to be a retirement project but it’s turned out to almost be a full-time job. However, I’m happy with that as the good thing about it is. I can pick and choose when I work and how much I work so when I want some time off I just take it, although I do try not to miss too many markets as they are my main outlet.
What have been the key highlights for you?
Getting positive feedback from customers is the absolute highlight. When people tell me my lemon curd is the best they have ever tasted – well, it makes it all worthwhile.
What do you aim to achieve in 2021?
It’s hard to know what this year will bring. 2020 turned out to be very busy for me as. Although there were fewer farmers’ markets during the lockdowns, I was supplying some retail outlets plus companies doing home deliveries so the demand for my produce increased.
I’d like to think things might get back to some sort of normality later this year once more of us are vaccinated but who knows. Like most people, I’m very keen to travel again to see family and friends so as soon as the restrictions are lifted, I’ll be doing that. It may mean spending less time on All About Lemons but if the pandemic has taught us all one thing, it’s about getting your priorities right.
But that’s for the future, so until then I’ll be busy with my lemon zester cooking up more lemony delights.
Fancy incorporating lemon into a delicious bake? Well, try recreating All About Lemons’ sunny side up biscuits or lemon, ricotta and coriander galette.
Sunny Side Up Biscuits
Ingredients (makes 6-8)
- 200g plain flour
- 150g unsalted butter, in small pieces
- 50g icing sugar
- Lemon curd
- Toasted coconut
- Heat the oven to 160C. Line a baking tray with non-stick greaseproof paper.
- Put the flour and butter into a food processor and whizz until breadcrumb stage. Add icing sugar and whizz again for a few seconds until the mixture starts to clump together.
- Tip the mixture into a bowl and knead until smooth. Roll out on a floured board. Cut out half the mixture using a medium biscuit cutter then the other half with a size smaller. Cut out the centre of the smaller circles to reveal a hole.
- Place on the baking tray and bake in the oven for approximately 10-15 minutes until the biscuits just start to brown. Place on a cooling rack.
- When cold, put a spoonful of lemon curd in the middle of the larger biscuits.
- Cover with the smaller circles. The lemon curd should be visible through the hole in the top biscuit. Spread the sides with lemon curd then roll in toasted coconut.
Lemon, Ricotta & Coriander Galette
Ingredients (serves 6)
- 250g ricotta
- 100g parmesan, grated
- Small bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
- 2 unwaxed lemons, very thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil plus a little more for serving
- 320g packet of ready rolled puff pastry
- 1 egg, beaten
- Heat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with parchment.
- Place the sliced lemon in a shallow dish and pour over the oil and a pinch of salt.
- With a wooden spoon, mix together the cheeses and add half of the coriander. Season with salt and pepper.
- Lay the pastry sheet on the baking tray, spread over the cheese and herb mixture then place the lemon slices on top in a single layer. Pour the remaining oil from the dish over the top.
- Brush the edges of the pastry with the beaten egg. Bake in the oven for 25-30 mins until the pastry turns golden.
- Drizzle over a little more oil then sprinkle with the remaining coriander. Serve warm or cold.