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Aberdeenshire family farm celebrate rise in sales thanks to customers shopping local at fresh produce vending machines

A family farm in Aberdeenshire ended last year on a high, celebrating a rise in sales boosted by local shoppers over the festive period and into the new year.

Published: February 3, 2021
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Thorneybank Farm Shop near Inverurie, which made headlines in 2017 after being the first shop in the UK to install digital vending machines selling fresh produce, has revealed that the no-contact technology has proven a hit over lockdown.

The machines, which sell quality-assured red meat including Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb from Millers of Speyside, Presly & Co Oldmeldrum and Louise’s Farm Kitchen along with freshly picked farm vegetables, have been a huge success alongside online orders.

The success reflects research carried out by Quality Meat Scotland that revealed Scotland’s love of local produce grew over lockdown, with over three quarters (79 per cent) of people agreeing it is important to continue to support local.

Providing customers with high quality, local produce is something the Stephen family, who have owned the farm for three generations, is really passionate about.

Penny Stephen said: “In our experience, by shopping local people have become more attuned to seasonal eating and championing what is available in Scotland across different periods of the year – and I think a lot of people’s eyes have been opened.

“Investing in the community is something that’s really important to us and is an ethos that our customers share. We’re excited for what’s to come as more people look closer to home for high quality fare.”

Lesley Cameron, director of marketing and communications at Quality Meat Scotland added: “The success of Thorneybank Farm and Shop over the past few months highlights that people are really keen to support local businesses and make conscious shopping choices that we hope will continue beyond the pandemic.

“We want to extend a huge thank you to everyone across the Scottish red meat industry and beyond who played a part in keeping quality food on tables over what has been a hugely difficult period for so many people.”

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All farms that produce red meat that bear the Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork seal of approval meet stringent quality assurances that give customers confidence that they are buying meat produced and reared to uncompromisingly high standards.

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

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