Hebridean Smokehouse in Clachan, Isle of North Uist, is one of three finalists in the Best Food Producer section in the 16th BBC Food and Farming Awards, it was announced today (Sunday).
Hebridean Smokehouse has been smoking locally reared and landed fish and shellfish for nearly 30 years. All of the salmon, sea trout and shellfish used by Hebridean Smokehouse comes from, or is landed on Uist, and the peat used to smoke these products is cut from the island.
Hebridean Smokehouse began life as a small business in about 1983 with the trading name of Mermaid Fish supplies, owned and run by George and Rosemary Jackson. Mermaid mainly supplied local islanders with fresh white fish landed on Uist and latterly, with the acquisition of a small smoking kiln, the Jacksons started peat smoking the cod, haddock and locally farmed salmon.
With the retirement of Mr and Mrs Jackson in 2000 the business was taken forward by Fergus and Anne Granville and the name Hebridean Smokehouse introduced. Since they took over, the smokehouse has grown in size with a new building and a larger kiln that now smokes all the salmon, seatrout and shellfish in the Hebridean range - although sadly none of the whitefish once landed so regularly here in the Outer Hebrides.
Today Hebridean Smokehouse employs around 12 local people all year round with many more joining the team at Christmas.
The presenter of BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme and founder of the awards Sheila Dillon says that through the nominations for the awards we want “to find out from our listeners who the food heroes were in their neighbourhoods - anyone, any organisation, that through food was making life in Britain better."
The winners of the 2015 awards come from right across the UK, and include Queens University, Belfast’s Professor Chris Elliott who was presented with the Food Game Changer Award by Julia Glotz, for his government review into the horsemeat scandal and his important work in advising the government on assurance of food supply networks. BBC Cook of the Year was Bristol’s Jo Ingleby who has developed the idea of ‘experimental cookery’ for the under-fives, and Best Food Producer was presented by Cyrus Todiwala to Northumberland’s Doddington Dairy.
Eighty-two year-old Joan Bomford from Worcester scooped the Countryfile Farming Hero Award, having been farming since the 1930s. And Randolph Hodgson of Neals Yard Dairy was honoured with the Derek Cooper Lifetime Achievement Award. Bristol Mayor George Ferguson presented
Steve Griffiths, Head Gardener for the Knowle West Health Association at Springfield Allotments in Knowle West with BBC Radio Bristol’s Food Hero gong.