Expanding food and drinks business creates jobs

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A bakery and deli on Harris will create six new jobs as it expands with a new smokery and coffee roastery.

The Temple Café,  built near the remains of an old stone temple in Northton on South Harris, outgrew itself within one year of owner Amanda Saurin buying it and the croft across the road in 2019 with husband Julian.

Now Amanda has bought a second building 10 minutes away in Leverburgh with £124,834 support from the Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

More space was needed after reopening with restrictions after lockdown so Amanda could grow her food and drinks business.

Once converted, the new space will add to the five people already employed at the Temple Cafe, which is under new management.

More room means Amanda can launch the coffee roastery and smokery, and expand her drinks range – her latest non-alcoholic drink Wild Eve, made from ingredients such as roses and honeysuckle harvested from her croft and sugar kelp seaweed from the nearby shore, is already proving popular with customers.

Everything on sale at Temple Café is made by hand using locally sourced botanicals – from baked goods to jams, teas and even beauty products.

Before moving to Harris, Amanda had been looking at botanicals and researching what they could offer in terms of flavour. She has worked with the Isle of Harris Distillery as part of her previous apothecary business for several years and was a frequent visitor to the island.

All the packaging Amanda uses is compostable. In a bid to cut the amount of traffic driving through Northton, she plans to offer bikes that people can cycle from the main road to the café. Amanda will also be encouraging the use of electric charging vehicles and plans to install rapid charging points.

Gordon Macdonald, account manager at HIE, said: ‘This exciting project adds to the rich variety and high-quality food and drink offering found in Harris. There is growing interest in products that use local ingredients and promote product provenance. Providing year-round jobs in South Harris is great news and I am very pleased we have been able to provide support.’