The team behind Aberdeenshire’s Westerton Farmers is opening a second shop next month.
Known for growing a wonderful variety of vegetables in Fordoun, Westerton Farmers has been selling through their The Spud Hit store since 2017, along with produce from many other local producers.
But after seeing a 103% increase in demand during the pandemic, the team knew they had to adapt their offering in order to keep up with orders.
“The team and I launched a website and offered home deliveries covering South Aberdeenshire and North Angus, as well as a click and collect service,” Fiona Ruth Smith, a partner at Westerton Farmers, said.
“We also started working with other local businesses supplying vegetables for their shops and those that had their trade outlets restricted or closed due to lockdown. This includes Mearns Marmalades.
“My husband, Doug Smith, also started his own business selling his homebred beef, so we started selling that too and this was a big hit, especially in the summer during barbecue season.
“Launching the website and delivery service was very successful and the feedback we got from our customers was amazing.
“The delivery option really helped those shielding and isolating, and also allowed people to send vegetable bags to their friends and family within the local area.
“The additions to the hut were very welcomed by our customers too – being able to offer a wider product range was definitely beneficial.”
Fiona, 34, added: “Farm to Table is an exciting new shop, which is going to be the first of its kind and focus on zero/low food packaging alongside seasonal, fresh produce – this is grown right outside the shop.
“We will be providing our customers with as much information about their food as possible, where it was grown and produced, how it was produced, and where and when it is in season. All in all, it will provide a unique farming experience.
“There will be a large selection of ‘pick your own vegetables’ on offer and collaborations with other local businesses to showcase the amazing larder that Scotland and the UK has to offer.
“There will even be a refillery section, so customers can bring their own containers for pasta, grains, herbs, spices, oils, vinegars, and so on. And a nutter butter machine will allow people to jar their own nut butters.
“Farm to Table will have a good selection of dairy, meats, coffee, condiments, eggs, bakery and other tasty treats.
“In the summer – to compliment the “pick you own” – we hope to have a selection of sandwiches, tray bakes and drinks too. Our focus is reducing waste, provenance and providing good quality food.
“We are hoping to launch in March 2021 – not long to go!
“We have done all our promotion so far on social media and word of mouth. Under normal circumstances, we would have a grand opening. However, this won’t be possible due to current restrictions.
“The team and I hope to reach out through our contacts and suppliers to help spread the word further.
“The best advertising a business can get is a referral from a customer, so we are hoping if our customers are happy with their experience, they will tell their friends and family about it.”
Farm to Table was initially a disused building and has been adorned with items found around the farm, including potato boxes that date back to the 60s.
Fiona is the fourth generation to work on the farm, which was purchased back in 1920.
As well as sustainability, regeneration and reducing waste in terms of food and packaging, Westerton Farmers also aim to promote shopping local.
Because of this, Fiona has shown her support for the North East Now campaign as it aims to promote local businesses battling through the coronavirus pandemic.
“The North East Now website is fantastic – to have all that local knowledge and information in one place is a great asset to the region,” she said.
“We are lucky to have so many exciting and innovative businesses in the north-east. It’s wonderful to see North East Now promoting and supporting them, letting us know what is on, who is open, what’s on offer and where to find pretty much anything in the north-east – from puppy parties to pedicures, and potatoes to pergolas.
“The amount of information on the website is incredible – thank you North East Now.
“Our main aim for the future will remain the same – to keep promoting local. We are so passionate about what we have on our doorstep and utilising all of Scotland’s assets to provide top quality food and drink.
“As well as this, Westerton Farmers will continue to reduce waste by trying to reduce unnecessary packaging and focus on reusable and recycling – most of our new shop is recycled items from the farm.”
The North-East Now campaign is driven by Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce and backed by creative agency Hampton and Aberdeen Journals.
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