Two Stirlingshire farms have welcomed a boost from customers who are increasingly shopping local during the pandemic.
Alison and Fergus Younger, of Old Leckie Farm, in the Gargunnock Hills, and Shona and Bruce Duncan, of Duncan Family Farms, near Drymen, have welcomed an increase in demand from new and existing customers looking to purchase Scotch-assured red meat and fresh farm produce from local suppliers.
Old Leckie Farm saw demand for home delivery double during the first national lockdown last year, leading to an expansion in the business to a team of five people based on the farm servicing orders and working closely with Skinners of Kippen to butcher the increasing volumes of red meat.
Duncan Family Farms saw a similar spike in interest through a mix of direct sales and via online farmers markets – with a surge in demand from customers discovering what is available on their doorstep.
The rise in demand saw Duncan Family Farms increase their slots at local abattoir John Scott Meats to process lamb, hogget and mutton.
The success reflects research carried out by red meat industry body Quality Meat Scotland that appreciation of local produce grew over lockdown, with 79% of people agreeing it is important to continue to support local.
Both farms have also seen a growth in interest from people looking to learn about agriculture by visiting farms for tours and overnight stays – something they both hope to develop as part of the Scottish Agritourism group.
Shona Duncan, from Duncan Family Farms, said: “We are venturing into self-catering accommodation on two of our farms and so got involved with the Scottish Agritourism monitor farm project in 2019. Being part of this has helped us develop our plans for the future which we hope will allow us to offer guests at our self-catering accommodation not only a unique farm experience but an insight into food production.”
Caroline Millar, from Scottish Agritourism, said the increase in demand for high-quality local produce was being seen across Scotland.
She said: “People are looking to purchase directly from farms or via pop-up markets and similar venues.
“There is a really positive shift to recognising the value of the farmer in the community and recognising how big a role the farmer has in feeding the community.
“We are not just seeing the number of people buying from farms increasing, we are also seeing the number of farmers interested in selling produce directly to customers on the rise as well.”