Derek Cooper, highly respected food writer and former presenter of Radio 4’s The Food programme, spent many a happy year on his beloved Skye.
“There is much talk these days about local distinctiveness – the qualities which make one culture and one region so different from all the others – and a sustainable local food economy plays a major role in the preservation of local culinary dishes.
Travellers in the eighteenth century wending their way round the Hebrides were impressed with the variety of local food they were offered. ‘The produce of the sea and of their own fields and mountains furnish their tables nobly.’
Visitors talked enthusiastically of ‘moor-fowl, roast mutton and beef, hare, black pudding, cheese, wild berries, fresh eggs, venison, herring, honey, blaeberry jam, milk prepared in a variety of ways and ”the utter and absolute and animated freshness of the fish.’
In those days of natural husbandry all the food was in the true sense of the word organic. The waters were unpolluted and the moors and pastures untouched by chemicals.
Skye has a new chapter in its culinary history. Just as the Battle of the Braes was a defining moment for crofting, so its local food initiative offers unlimited possibilities to the cause of sustainable food production.
The provision of more local produce for local people and visitors alike is not only good for the health of the community but also very good for business.
It means more jobs and more job satisfaction. It gives Skye a higher profile and establishes this particular corner of the Highlands as an exciting place on which to find real food and drink.
Never before has there been a more exciting time for trying and buying home grown and locally sourced food.
If it’s not in your village shop or favourite restaurant menu, ask why not – get out there, taste the difference and grasp the chance to keep some of the best food and drink around for yourself. “
Excerpt from West Highland Free Press article (2000)