The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and Dundee)

Fiona Pollock was named the Menu Food and Drink Brand Ambassador in 2020, just as the global pandemic was declared.


Now, for the first time in more than two years, it’s finally time for the accolade to be passed on to the 2022 winner, as chosen by the judging panel.

Fiona reflected on a challengin­g few years as she looks to the future.

When East Neuk farmer Fiona Pollock and her late husband Rob decided to open Ardross Farm Shop near Elie, she couldn’t have imagined how life would change.

Looking for a way to sell their vegetables and beef direct to customers, they transforme­d a cart shed on the farm, and the shop was born.

Seventeen years on, it remains a family-run business, with Fiona’s three daughters – Tara, Nikki and Claire – involved, along with the rest of the hard-working team.

Growing and selling fresh beef, lamb, mutton and vegetables daily, they are passionate about grass-fed meat, looking after the environmen­t and regenerati­ve agricultur­e.

Being named the Menu Food and Drink Brand Ambassador in March 2020 was bitterswee­t for Fiona, 66, who learned of the award a few days after the ceremony had to be cancelled due to the global pandemic.

The winner in this particular category is chosen solely by the judging panel, and Fiona received the accolade for her commitment to making Ardross Farm Shop a quality enterprise from start to finish, along with her support of the wider food and drink community and the greater community in general. They recognised she was a much-loved local personalit­y with so much generosity for others.

Fiona said: “I was very humbled to be made Ambassador. My husband Rob died in October 2019 and it was actually him who started the shop, so I really did feel it was partly him that should have got this award.

“He had the foresight. We were producing for the supermarke­ts and it was just soul destroying. It was him who said ‘we can’t do this anymore, we have to try and do local’.”

Fiona and her family have faced a challengin­g few years, after losing Rob – who was such an integral part of Ardross and still very much missed – to weathering the pandemic.

“Trading during the pandemic has been absolutely overwhelmi­ng with the local people’s support for businesses,” explains Fiona. “It’s been a huge community and it really is heartwarmi­ng to see so many people shopping locally. Although we’ve had the most horrendous two years, there are positives as well.”

She added: “If you’d asked me two years ago, I would never have believed it could have been so busy.”

Fiona recently travelled to Burlington, Vermont, in the USA, as part of a Go Rural Scottish delegation to the Internatio­nal Workshop on Agritouris­m (IWA).

Her passion for local produce is tireless. As well as producing on the farm, the shop champions other suppliers’ products.

“Produce from Fife has just gone from strength to strength and is attracting people from all over,” said Fiona. “From the fish vans that go out from the East Neuk to the Michelinst­arred restaurant­s, they’re promoting what we produce locally, which is wonderful.”

Her message to the recipient of the 2022 Menu Food and Drink Brand

Ambassador is simply to “enjoy it – and keep promoting local food”.

Fiona remains ever thankful to her wonderful customers who have been the driving force behind making Ardross Farm Shop the success it is today.

“When I started back in 2005 everybody kept saying ‘this will never happen. Nobody’s going to come to a farm to get food’. It was just amazing how it grew,” she recalled. “When people find us, they tend to come back.”

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