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Snochery Jock’s: The Kintore oatcake company keeping Doric traditions alive

The 61-year-old Allan Smith has run the successful business Snochery Jock's alongside his wife Sandra since 2022.

Allan Smith, owner of Snochery Jock's. Images: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson
Allan Smith, owner of Snochery Jock's. Images: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

As Allan Smith reminisces about his childhood, spent on a farm near Torphins, it isn’t long before his mum Muriel and late dad Archie are mentioned.

Muriel would be “forever baking” according to Allan, who is the couple’s only son and the youngest of six children.

“I would be pinching and eating as many of the home bakes as I could, but freshly-baked oatcakes were always a favourite,” he says.

Allan Smith and his mum Muriel. Image: Supplied by Allan Smith

He did what any youngster would with an avid baker in the house. School friend Ian Mitchell would vouch for this.

Allan added: “[Ian] lived a few miles away and we’d often bike to each others houses.

“His mother Mary Mitchell, also a farmer’s wife, was a great baker as well and we’d happily sit eating oatcakes with a glass of milk whenever fresh bakes were on the go.

“When his mum passed away a few years ago, he asked if I wanted her oatcake baking girdle. He said it always reminded her of us eating all the oatcakes as kids.”

Snochery Jock’s product are perfect for cheeseboards.

Snochery Jock’s name was ‘inspired by late father’, says Allan

Allan – who has lived in Kintore for the past 13 years – set out to make oatcakes the same way they did, but “couldn’t get them exactly right”.

“I tried another way, in the oven, and over time got them pretty close to that same taste which brought back happy memories,” the now 61-year-old added.

Allan preparing a batch of oatcakes.

The World Oatcake Championships took place in Tarland at roughly the same time, and one of Allan’s entries came third.

Snochery Jock’s originally sold oatcakes alone, but has expanded its range.

This spurred him on to launch his business Snochery Jock’s, which sells handmade small-batch oatcakes, shortbread and tablet, to name a few products.

Where does the name come from?

“The name comes from my late father Archie, who would get me to help out on the farm,” says Allan.

“Because I was always covered in mud with a runny nose, it was often ‘Come and give me a hand Snochery Jock!’,  to herd coos or hash neeps when I was pre-school age.

“He often had to tell me to stop eating the raw neeps and leave them for the coos.”

Snochery Jock’s was launched in 2022 after Allan and his wife Sandra received tremendous support from Business Gateway.

Back L-R: Aileen, Nora, Kathleen and Muriel. Front L-R: Muriel, Evelyn and Archie with Allan on his knee. Image: Supplied by Allan Smith

The business owner’s sisters – Nora, Muriel, Kathleen, Aileen and Evelyn – gave honest feedback on the bakes and were also “very supportive” in getting the firm up-and-running.

More of what Snochery Jock’s offers, including Turkish delight shortbread and traditional Scottish tablet

Allan and Sandra produce, package and deliver the Snochery Jock’s range to several north-east outlets.

Marshall’s Farm Shop, Barra Berries, The Bread Maker, and Maryculter House Hotel are among them.

Sandra and Allan. Image: Darrell Benns /DC Thomson

The couple are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary this year. They have two grown up children, daughter Ashleigh and son Mark, and are grandparents to Mark’s son and “chief shortbread taster” Brodie.

Allan added: “We have added things to our range as time has gone on.

“In oatcakes, we now offer plain, cheese, cheese and chive, cheese and onion, cheese and chilli (with an extra hot chilli version too), and just this week we launched tomato and oregano.”

Plain, cheese, and cheese and chive are among the oatcake flavours.

It takes roughly two hours to make a batch (12 packs) of oatcakes. A batch of shortbread takes 30 minutes before it is chilled overnight before baking.

“In shortbreads, there’s vanilla, lemon, coconut, cinnamon, ginger, chocolate chip, Biscoff, and occasionally parma violet and Turkish delight flavours,” adds the baker.

“We also have traditional Scottish tablet, and a gluten-free and vegan energy snack, ‘wee boost bites’, and coconut ice at most markets.

Allan with packets of shortbread and oatcakes.
Scottish tablet is available, too.

“It’s fantastic that all these amazing businesses have given space to our products and have continued to do so. They have all been very supportive.”

Snochery Jock’s attends a line-up of farmers’ markets – in Fraserburgh, Huntly, Bridge of Don, Torphins, and Queen’s Cross in Aberdeen – and local events such as Echt Show, Turriff Show, and The Scottish Traditional Boat Festival.

The best-selling items include the cheese and onion oatcakes and Scottish tablet.

Allan and Sandra have loved promoting the Doric language and ‘meeting amazing people’

Allan went on to say he is “a great believer in promoting and using Doric language.”

Alongside his Snochery Jock’s commitments, Allan has a daily podcast, the Doric Express, and he is currently the manager at Inverurie’s Burghmuir Drive Co-op.

Sandra’s background is in accounts.

The couple produce, package and deliver the range to outlets across the north-east. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson

“The best thing about Snochery Jock’s has been the amazing people we have met along the way,” says Allan.

“There is always lots of banter at markets with customers and other stallholders. There are an unbelievable amount of talented producers in the north-east.

“It has been really hard work as Sandra and myself are both still working, but it has been really enjoyable. We hope that come time, when we eventually retire, we’ll be able to do this for a few days each week.

The name Snochery Jock’s is inspired by Allan’s late dad.

“We hope that the business will continue to grow organically and that word of mouth will help us to continue growing. Our social media skills leave a lot to be desired!”