From Farmers to Retailers
The story behind so many of our products being homemade in our kitchen starts when my husband and I first started the shop, back in 2005. Our aim was to sell some beef direct to customers. We had no experience in butchery or retail and it’s been a very steep learning curve. Thankfully, due to our ignorance, we listened to our customers and have been guided by them in almost everything we do.
A learning curve
After a few years of selling our beef direct, we noticed that it wasn’t easy to sell all the cuts of beef. In the summer roasts and stew would start to accumulate and over the winter burgers didn’t sell as well. Of course we could sell fillets, rib eyes and sirloins without even trying. It was the liver, braising and fat that didn’t sell as quickly. Our philosophy has always been to reduce waste and use everything from our animals, nose to tail. With certain cuts piling up in freezers we were struggling to do this.
It was at that point a wonderful butcher from Anstruther was shopping with us and I asked his advice. He laughed at my predicament and asked why we hadn’t started adding value to different cuts that weren’t selling. To be perfectly honest, it had never even crossed my mind. He explained that making steak pies, mince rounds, steak rounds and scotch pies were all ways of selling slow moving cuts. This meant we could get carcass balance.
Our Farm Kitchen
Taking all of this on board, I then started making steak pies in our farmhouse kitchen. For quite a few years the children left for school with pots of stewing steak bubbling away on the cooker. We also started making different kinds of burgers and developed an old family recipe for freezer jam. Gradually over the years we added more products until it got to the point we outgrew the farmhouse kitchen and bought a commercial one.
Working with our home grown produce
Fast forward to today and we make hundreds of products, homemade in our kitchen. Our aim is still to reduce waste and so the kitchen works closely with what’s in season, and what we produce here at Ardross. Our beetroot chutney is a best seller, the perfect match for Anster cheese. We decided to make it when Rob had accidentally grown far too much beetroot one year and we wanted to use as much as possible. We also make homemade ready meals with our grass-fed beef. Two of our best sellers are Ardross Sausage Casserole, a delicious, wonderfully warming and filling dish made with our own sausages and Puddledub bacon and Ardross Meatballs in a tomato sauce, our own homemade meatballs cooked in a delicious tomato sauce. We also render the fat down from our cattle and make beef dripping, seriously tasty for roast potatoes and full of essential fats.
Listening to our customers
As well as adding value to our own produce we still listen to what our customers ask for. We make meringues from locally sourced free-range eggs and then to use up the yolks we created a sumptuously creamy custard. Freshly baked scones arrive in from our kitchen every morning. Following the seasons we have just finished our Wild Garlic and Cheese scones and have moved onto White Chocolate and Raspberry ones, of course we always have plain or fruit available. Our homemade quiches, scotch eggs and sausage rolls are very popular all year round but especially throughout the summer months. They are perfect for picnics or a quick lunch.
In total we make over two hundred products, from scratch, using fresh local ingredients. Our kitchen works seven days a week creating mouthwatering baking, ready meals, condiments, sauces, quiches and so much more. We do the hard work so you don’t need to!
Working with likeminded companies
Complimenting our homemade products are a wonderful range of meals from COOK . We have been selling COOK ready meals for many years. They are a wonderful company full of inspiring stories, pay real living wage and a B-Corp company and just a joy to work with. We’ve also not found another ready meal company that can consistently give us such high standards while using fresh ingredients.
Anything that has our label on it in the shop is made here on site by my wonderful team, Laura, Mark and Kirsty, homemade in our kitchen. We never put our name on anything that isn’t our own and you can trust us to make sure we’ve used fresh, local produce. We want to be the link between our farm and your kitchen, providing you with good food that you can either prepare at home or just pop in the oven and enjoy.