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Friday 8 August 2014

Bowhouse celebration

Fife Courier. Tuesday 5th August.

Balcaskie’s plans ‘good for industry’

PLANS TO build a bakery and farmers’ market at Balcaskie Estate in North East Fife have been hailed as good news for the area’s food and drink industry. The council has backed plans to alter Bowhouse Farm buildings and agricultural land to include a bakery and food processing hub, as well as a cafe, farmers’ market and exhibition space. It is proposed to regenerate the existing buildings to form a food production hub and community growing space that would allow both start-up and existing businesses to produce food and drink. Balcaskie Estate also intends to work alongside the existing network of food retailers within the area. They will seek to provide retailers with additional stock and strengthen links between producers and retailers. Fisherman Jim Knox, of the Fisherman’s Larder, a storehouse of seafood sourced from local waters, claimed the plans would be good for the area. Mr Knox said: “The proposal would provide solutions to many of the challenges faced by our business and others in the area. “Highlights include it featuring local food production businesses that primarily source raw materials from the local fishing/ farming industry. “It would also feature businesses that showcase local expertise, history and heritage, and by creating and capitalising on a demand for produce within the local area.” Mr Knox said the plans would also provide premises to small producers who are currently struggling to find a suitable commercial facility in the villages, due to lack of availability. The assembly and leisure element would allow a social enterprise and community event use of the facility, while the existing sheds would also allow a covered farmers market to be held once a month. Existing agricultural land would be used as community gardening land and for the production of fruit and vegetables. The proposals also include an apple orchard. Andrew Campbell said: “This venture looks as if it will stimulate growth within the food and drink sector which is entirely a good thing for Fife and Scotland. “Just as exciting is the prospect of increasing the opportunity for customers to watch and taste hand crafted artisan bread being baked.” Henry Cheape said: “The Bowhouse will be another part of the expanding network of local sustainable rural food businesses in Fife. Such businesses do not compete with one another; they complement. “This project should be embraced by the council with open arms.” Today the estate includes an active in-hand, mixed-use farm, tenanted and partnership farms, houses, cottages and livery stables. Fife Council lead off icer Kevin Treadwell said: “The proposal is considered acceptable in meeting all of the terms of the development plan and national guidance with regards to farm diversification and rural related business proposals.”

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