Rachael and Keith Jackson are very proud of the stock they raise on their farm at Orbost Estate on the Isle of Skye. Their lives and business are based on the principles of slow food production – producing the best quality, fantastic tasting meat products from slowly reared, traditional breed animals – simple food, and food with provenance.
Alongside Native cattle breeds and Soay sheep, the farm also boasts a fine collection of Iron Age pigs. While all the meat is butchered and packed at the farm, animals have to be transported to the abbatoir in Dingwall for slaughter. Having estate shooting rights and a deer larder on the farm means the venison comes direct from hill field to plate, and with research into establishing an abattoir on Skye almost complete, Rachael and Keith hope eventually that all their meat will be processed on Skye, from start to finish.
As well as gate-sales to locals and visitors to Orbost, Rachael & Keith have a range of well-established buyers for their premium Skye-reared meat across the island. Fine dining at the five-star Coruisk House in Elgol sees Orbost lamb and pork on the menu, while busy people on the move make a bee-line to the Thistle Snack Food van in Portree for Orbost’s lamb, beef, boar and vension burgers. Orbost bacon and sausages grace the breakfast plates of quality guesthouses of The Spoons on the shores of Loch Snizort and Roskill House in Dunvegan.
Knowing which meat your customers want and keeping in touch to let them know what’s available, and when, is all part of Orbost’s ethos of keeping food local and best quality. When they know they’re about to process a particular meat, Rachael phones round their regulars to find out what they need, meaning customers can be sure of supply, and waste is kept to a minimum.
Building a relationship with the businesses they supply is very important to Rachael and Keith. One of the longest has been with Simon Wallwork and Kirsty Faulds of Glenview; a café, gallery and Bed and Breakfast in the North Eastern corner of Skye on the Trotternish Peninsula. Simon and Kirsty aim to use produce from as many local suppliers as possible in their menus, including Orbost Farm, whose meat is a staple ingredient on their breakfast menu and in their Skye Pies.
Isle of Skye
Website: Orbost Farm
Telephone: (+ 44) 01470 521 828