Alas­dair cham­pi­ons lo­cal food prod­ucts

The Galloway News - - FARMING REVIEW -

From a young age Lochmaben’s Alas­dair Gra­ham knew he wanted a ca­reer in the food and drink in­dus­try.

Af­ter com­plet­ing an aqua­cul­ture and fish­eries man­age­ment course at the Barony Col­lege in 2011, the 23-year-old joined his fam­ily’s busi­ness – Barony Coun­try Foods.

And he has been hap­pily liv­ing and breath­ing tra­di­tional Scot­tish pro­duce ever since do­ing ev­ery­thing from butcher­ing lo­cal wild veni­son and game to fil­let­ing and pre­par­ing dif­fer­ent species of fish.

Alis­tair, who’s been help­ing out since his se­condary school days, said:“A large pro­por­tion of our busi­ness comes from the ho­tel and restau­rant trade so pre­par­ing and de­liv­er­ing or­ders is key. We have our smoke­house in Lochmaben where we cure, smoke and slice our pro­duce from lo­cal game and poul­try to our award win­ning cold and hot smoked sal­mon.”

In 2016, he be­came a di­rec­tor of the com­pany un­der the tute­lage of his fa­ther, Ron­nie.

He said:“Be­com­ing a di­rec­tor of the busi­ness has re­ally helped me de­velop my fi­nan­cial skills and busi­ness acu­men. It’s re­ally ex­cit­ing to be work­ing along­side my dad to ex­pand all as­pects of our busi­ness in­clud­ing our range of prod­ucts, cus­tomer re­la­tions and re­tail av­enues.”

Hav­ing al­ways had an in­ter­est in aqua­cul­ture and fish pro­cess­ing, Alas­dair did some work ex­pe­ri­ence on a sal­mon cage site in Ar­dr­ishaig and worked part time on a fish farm at Carse of Ae.

He said:“It was great to gain ex­pe­ri­ence of an­other food-re­lated in­dus­try, es­pe­cially one which is so linked to what we do here at Barony Coun­try. A large amount of our fish comes from this part of the in­dus­try so it was a good step­ping stone to the po­si­tion I am in now.”

Work­ing with fish and game is some­thing Alas­dair en­joys most about his job:“I do the cur­ing, smok­ing and roast­ing of these prod­ucts my­self and I have in­her­ited and de­vel­oped these skills from my fa­ther over the years.The slic­ing of the cold smoked sal­mon and rain­bow trout is car­ried out by two ladieswho work with us part time.This is a fine art which they have mas­tered over many years.”

The pas­sion Alas­dair has for his busi­ness and the wider food and drink in­dus­try is clear to see and, in his opin­ion, Scot­land’s food and drink in­dus­try is like no other:“We have so many nat­u­ral re­sources along with our pro­duce that are unique to this coun­try, from our sal­mon and fish to our fruit and vegeta­bles and of course our fine whisky and gins.

“There is no bet­ter time to show off what we have to of­fer here in Scot­land and pro­tect the Scot­tish brand. So many of us are in­volved in and around the food and drink sec­tor in one way or an­other so it’s up to us as the pro­duc­ers and re­tail­ers to show­case our fine con­tri­bu­tions to the global mar­ket.

“The Scot­tish food and drink sec­tor is grow­ing and evolv­ing year on year at the same time as a great deal of al­ter­na­tive in­dus­tries are on the de­cline and so is an even more vi­tal el­e­ment to Scot­land`s econ­omy.”

Alas­dair be­lives that there are many op­por­tu­ni­ties for young peo­ple to get in­volved in the food and drink sec­tor – from fish­ing and farm­ing to re­tail and food prepa­ra­tion.

He said:“I be­lieve it’s es­sen­tial for young peo­ple to get in­volved and work in the food and drink sec­tor.

“It’s thriv­ing in so many dif­fer­ent ways and it’s a re­ally ex­cit­ing time to be part of what Scot­land has to of­fer - which is far more di­verse and unique than ever be­fore.”

Alas­dair’s own per­sonal goal is to grow Barony Coun­try Foods to adapt to the ever-chang­ing mar­ket for smoked pro­duce whilst stay­ing true to its roots and he wants to de­velop the on­line and mail or­der ser­vices of the busi­ness.

Lo­cal pro­duce Alas­dair Gra­ham is keen to pro­mote Scot­tish food and drink

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.