From Soil to Plate: Tales from a Lochaber Croft

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The Crofters’ Diversity Pays! project has been awarded funding from the European Social Fund (Social Innovation Fund) and the Scottish Government, writes Adam Veitch.

The partnership between the Scottish Crofting Federation, Queen Margaret University, Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) and several crofters and other SMEs will test and develop new ideas to help add value to crofting produce.

In Shetland, a kale landrace known as Shetland cabbage has been successfully registered as a conservation variety and through an array of croft growers the project will be investigating the viability of sale of seeds to different markets.

In Lochaber, a cereal rye landrace known as Hebridean rye will be tested through the supply chain, from field, to mill, to bakehouse and brewery, including nutritional composition and, of course, taste testing.

We are excited our Lochaber croft is intimately involved in several stages of this project. To date three varieties of summer cereal rye have been harvested and tillage is under way for six varieties of winter cereal rye.

NO F39 sheaves
NO F39 sheaves

We are now threshing, winnowing and seed cleaning. If any reader has a dis-used grain machinery tucked away in a byre or barn – in particular small scale threshers and seed cleaners – that you would be interested in sharing or donating to the project, please reach out via the SCF website.

As the project unfolds this winter and into next spring, keep an eye out for grain events publicised by SCF.