This week as part our The Caithness Way series we are focussing on Caithness Summer Fruits! A fabulous soft fruit grower and preserve producer based here, Trisha makes our fabulous Rock Rose Gin marmalade! It is perfect for using in a Breakfast Martini cocktail 🙂
We have been growing soft fruits since the early 90s on our Croft in Harpsdale, Halkirk. Most of the berries are sold fresh and for the past 15 years I have been producing preserves with our berries and produce grown by other growers in the Highlands.
What inspired you to start-up your business?
I always have had an interest in fruit, so when friends of ours left Caithness (the only farmers to grow soft fruits commercially) for pastures new, I saw an opportunity and have never looked back!
Has anything unusual or surprising happened while you’ve been in business?
Depends what you call unusual, I’ve spent a day sharing a stall that had sand on the ground and a couple of inflatable palm trees – the chap I was sharing with was trying to sell beach towels. When we grew vegetables in the 80s, one of our customers posted one of our cabbages out to Hong Kong. It might surprise you – each Christmas Market someone always asks for fresh strawberries, sometimes, even when its -14C!
Growing berries that make people smile. Seeing the look on their faces when they eat your berries for the first time at the beginning of each new season.
What are the highlights of being a business based in Caithness?
We all have your own struggles in life, but with the support and encouragement from local businesses and customers we move forward to the next goal in life.
Describe your business or product in 3 words?
Scrumptious, vibrant and fragrance.
It’s where we brought up our family, and built up a business from scratch with my late husband with help from family and friends.
What, to you, is the Caithness Way?
Giving folk who come to visit family and friends, or maybe come to Caithness for the first time, a taste of local produce that will always remind them of Caithness.
What is a normal day to you?
Up early to organise which task there is for the day.
Some days it is making a few pans of jam, marmalade or chutney.
Saturdays are spent in Wick at the Wick Market.
Summer months are delivering first thing in the morning, so that there are fresh berries in the shops. Then it’s sorting out the orders for the day. Deciding which tunnels needs attention.
Being in my garden with my Grandberries.
Another place I enjoy is parked up at Castlehill Harbour looking over to Dunnet Bay, when I’m delivering fruit in the summer.
Does Caithness inspire your business?
Caithness inspires me with the seasons, long summer days to grow scrumptious berries, autumn days for making chutneys to mature, to enjoy with family and friends in the long winter nights at Christmas. And then I watch as the first buds come to life as the days lengthen in the spring.
My grandchildren call me Grannyberry so a friend suggested I should call them Grandberries.
So, my new product is called Grandberries.
It is a selection of handpicked strawberries, raspberries and blackberries in a fully recyclable punnet, wrapped in a label with a choice of three different recipes. Available in local shops.