Tractor in the outer Isles


Crofter’s Pie Will be the New Scotch Pie

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Scottish Crofting Federation put their plans for a range of crofters’ pies before Environment minister Roseanna Cunningham at the Highland show today (Fri). Ms Cunningham tasted an all-butter lamb and marjoram pie, served with pea puree and pea shoots at the SCF stand along with a selection of other gourmet canapés made from Scottish crofting produce.

SCF chief executive Patrick Krause said: “She immediately saw the market potential for a crofter’s pie. We are convinced that our crofters pie, using top quality meat from Highlands and Islands crofts will be the new Scotch pie.”

Ms Cunningham also tasted Shetland beef carpaccio, Sutherland hogget confit, Lewis pork scotch eggs and Lewis strawberry and basil tartlets.


Croft Produce Showcased In Goumet Buffet at Royal Highland Show

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Western Isles chef has been selected by the Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) to showcase the finest in croft produce at this year's Royal Highland Show at Ingliston. Murdo Alex Macritchie of Lewis has designed a gourmet cold buffet featuring prime lamb, mutton, pork and beef from Lewis, Sutherland and Shetland. It will be presented to the media and VIPs including environment minister Roseanna Cunningham next Friday at the show.



Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has backed calls by island crofters for an expansion in the market for mutton.

Western Isles crofters say the hills and moors on the islands are suffering from lack of grazing, and this situation could be turned round if there was a greater emphasis on mutton for the mainstream market.

Richard MacLennan, who has a small blackface herd in Borve, Harris, says ageing crofters find it hard to gather sheep from the hills. He said: “Less people work with dogs now. It’s hard work to keep a hill flock. There is also a lack of hefted ewes to make good mutton after breeding.”



Wednesday, June 09, 2010

A question of insurmountable hurdles was left as a conclusion to a seminar on small-scale renewable energy production held by the SCF on Saturday in Balmacara.

Donnie MacDonald, SCF director and spokesman on renewables said “there is a lot of enthusiasm for the opportunities this can have for rural communities and small enterprises. However, the opportunities are being thwart by it being very difficult for individuals to raise the capital to invest in power generation equipment. The SRDP is so difficult to get into it was universally advised to steer clear of it, banks don’t seem to be willing to lend on anything below 500kw and grants or interest-free loans available from the likes of the Energy Trust exclude the participant from then getting the Feed In Tariff – the source of income necessary to make the venture pay. So whilst it sounds a great way for small enterprises such as crofts to benefit from their natural resources in reality they are effectively excluded unless they happen to have a large amount of their own capital to invest.”



Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Scottish Crofting Federation appointed their new Chair, Eleanor Arthur, at their AGM held on Saturday 5th June in Balmacara.

In her address to the assembled gathering, the young Shetland woman said “It is a great honour, but also a considerable responsibility to represent the SCF Board and membership. Over the last decade each new chair has been confronted with big crofting issues and this time is no different with reform of crofting legislation, the inquiry into future support for agriculture in Scotland and the whole reformation of European rural policy. Common to all issues is the continuing up-hill struggle to get crofting understood by the policy makers. The only way I see crofters having a voice and influence in Edinburgh, London and Brussels is for them to gather together under one banner and be big enough to be heard – we need numbers. The SCF provides this banner and it is very heartening to see that SCF membership is increasing, that crofters are joining and so making the SCF stronger and more representative. My intention is that the SCF continue to listen to its membership, to represent crofters effectively, and build on the good reputation it already holds nationally and internationally.”



Monday, June 07, 2010

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has responded to the increasing demand for soft fruit in remote areas of the crofting counties with a two-day study tour designed to help crofter-growers increase their own production.

Under SCF's Crofting Resources Programme, part of which aims to train and mentor food producers, 16 soft fruit growers from crofts mainly in Skye and north-west Sutherland visited fruit farms in Moray and the Black Isle to learn about techniques which could be transferred to their smaller operations.