Fraser & Nikki, Shellfield Farm, Cowal

Fraser & Nikki, Shellfield Farm, Cowal

When did your farm diversify into tourism and in what way?

Well, we took over the farm 8 years ago and there was no diversifying taking place. We then found an opportunity to sell our lamb and then turned to event catering 4 years in. Since then, we’ve reinvested in the brand and built our own commercial kitchen and butchery on site.

How has this benefited the farm as a business overall?

We’ve been able to really get the message out about sustainably farmed meat and have strongly been advocating for grass fed meat. I’ve also been able to turn my passion of being home cook into my own chef a reality.

What part of tourism do you love the most?

Educating people and showing them our farm is one of our favourite aspects. With veganism continuing to grow, we think it’s so important to show our visitors how we are able to sustainably farm and help the environment. I think farms like ours need more representation - there is lots of misconceptions out there about the meat and dairy industry.

How did lockdown impact on the tourism aspect of your business?

Without the events we haven’t be an able to cater in that sense, but prior to lockdown we were getting ready to launch our very own ready meals, so that worked out well as we’ve been wanting to do it for a while. It really allowed us to get established with the great local market.

Tell me about the GoRural live farm visit?

We had a really good experience. We showed people around the farm and into our new commercial kitchen. It’s been really interesting seeing how other people have diversified their businesses; I think it is these ones that will survive (hopefully!).

How are things going now lockdown is lifting?

Now that we’ve established our ready meals, it’s really becoming a growing market as people are going back to work and we have tourists visiting. Lockdown has given us a realistic view of the local market and we’ve had a very positive experience. We’re all about provenance, we’re spreading the message about good meat and traceability. People are starting to wake up to small local producers who have kept going during all of this - we haven’t gone anywhere.