Wee Toon produce is big business

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From sausages to strawberries and cheddar to chutney, Kintyre food is top of the menu.

That is what Linda McLean discovered after opening a shop in Campbeltown’s Main Street dedicated to local produce.

Customers queued into the street when the doors of The Kintyre Larder opened on Saturday, with about 200 people crossing the threshold and some items selling out in hours.

‘I appreciate everyone who came to show their support,’ said Linda. ‘And my pal, Emma Woods, and summer staff member, Cameron Macalister, who helped me out on the day.

‘I think the first time we were able to take a breath was around 4pm.’

As well as produce from Ballywilline Beef, Ifferdale Lamb, High Bellochantuy Farm, Campbeltown Creamery, Wee Isle Dairies, Argyll Bakeries, Harlequin Tearoom, Scottish Tablet Company, Kintyre Preserves and more, the larder will also stock items from other Scottish regions.

Most of the producers are small-scale and Linda has connections with some of them, mostly through her time at agricultural college.

She also got to know many of the producers in the three years since she began promoting Mull of Kintyre cheddar for First Milk.

Linda said: ‘I started doing cheese stands for the creamery and I met a lot of producers.

‘I could see that there was a real demand for the cheese but the creamery was closed on a Saturday and Kintyre people wanted it.’

The stock will be seasonal and will change on a daily basis, as and when it can be supplied.

‘If anyone has anything that we can stock, please come into the shop to speak to us, anyone who has excess fruit and vegetables, or who is putting an animal to slaughter,’ Linda said.

‘We had duck eggs from Dougie and Dorothy McCormick at Mains Farm the other day – our produce is always changing.’

The shop was transformed from the gift shop it was previously in just a week.

‘Gordon Allen at Wee Toon Environmental Solutions did a great, quality job in a short time-scale,’ Linda said. ‘Gordon Bennie did our banners for us and we had Livingstone and McEachran plumbers and CR Electrical in – they all did a fantastic job at the last minute.’

The original tiles from when the shop was a dairy were uncovered during the transformation and have been retained.

Linda, who lives with her husband James and their children Donald, eight, and Kate, six, at Kilmaho Farm, will juggle the shop with farm life.

She joked: ‘I may occasionally need to put up a sign saying “I’m away to put the cows across the road” or “I’m away to get the children” but I’ll never be too far away.’

The Kintyre Larder will be open from 10am-6pm, Monday-Saturday on Campbeltown’s Main Street.