South Percyhorner Farm Shop near Fraserburgh is the ideal stop for honest buyers looking to source fresh produce straight from the field or from other local producers.
Gary Summers and his partner Kristina Bruce, along with their young children Lydia and Rowan, farm the 300-acre unit situated two miles from the north-east town, and just off the main Fraserburgh to Banff road.
They grow malting barley, finish around 60 head of cattle per year and keep a 90-ewe breeding flock, while growing multiple seasonal vegetables for selling through the farm shop.
A biomass system was also introduced to the farm three years ago and provides heat to two houses, the farm’s workshop and the grain drier.
Shed space is also let out for storage.
Eight years ago the couple renovated an old building on the farm and expanded their initial sideline of selling tatties by the roadside with an honesty box.
While the honesty box still remains at South Percyhorner, the farm shop now sells home-reared beef, all vegetables from carrots to beetroot, as well as supplies from Sinclairs of Rhynie bakery and milk from Invercamey Dairy at Fyvie.
Gary also makes jams, chutneys and pies using the farm’s beef, with cattle slaughtered at Millers of Speyside, before being butchered and frozen packed at Webster’s Butchers in Keith.
“Diversification is so important on farms nowadays and a farm shop brings the added bonus of getting the general public out to the countryside and buying fresh, local produce,” said Gary.
“Home-grown vegetables take only five or ten minutes to come from the field to the shop shelf and the customers like their carrots with mud still on them because the flavour is still there.
“People definitely like to know where the produce comes from.”
Gary and Kristina like to support other local producers, particularly for vegetables out of season. They also source fruit from Mark Murphy and buy in honey from a local producer.
Despite expanding, the honesty box is still the method of payment, and continues to work well although the couple have experienced some dishonest customers over the years.
“We are still a small farm shop so we find the honesty box works for us,” said Gary.
“Customers don’t have somebody peering over their shoulder waiting for them to buy something and they can take more time to look at all the produce.
“Kristina works away two days per week and I’m on the farm myself so it means we don’t have to man the shop ourselves or pay somebody to stand there all day.”
The couple sell seasonal products throughout the year including wreaths at Christmas, and also do a ‘meet and greet’ with lambs in the spring time.
They also do charity work and have held five barn dances over the years for various cancer charities, raising an impressive £70,000, which includes donations from their ‘pick your own sunflower’ patch.
“We are in the early stages of a potentially exciting new project so watch this space,” concluded Gary.