I’m sitting with a blanket round my knees listening to the wind howl and the rain lash our old stone house. The fire’s already lit so it’s cosy. This is winter in Harris. My days start early because there’s so much to do and I love the silence of early morning. I walk the dogs to the beach as soon as dawn breaks and on days like this, I marvel at the huge waves and the ever-changing light. Then I feed the cats, chat to the chickens and go inside for tea.
We have three businesses here: Wild Eve, our exceptional non-alcoholic drink, The Temple Deli & Bakery and A.S Apothecary, a high-end skincare company. They all have plants at their heart. We grow many on our croft, and wild harvest other plants sustainably across the island. At this time, I’ll assess the weather and work out what plant work can be done. In winter, once the rose hips and rowan berries are in, it’s all about maintenance. For breakfast on weekends, I’ll get a croissant or sourdough hot from the oven, make a really good Tin Donkey coffee and take the time to enjoy it with my husband. We use fermented butter from The Edinburgh Butter Co for our croissants and rest the dough for at least 24 hours. On weekdays I make porridge with a sprinkling of our granola for crunch.
By mid-morning I might be doing consultancy work for a drinks company, or making a distillation of sugar kelp aromatic water for the Isle of Harris Distillery, formulating a product for A.S Apothecary, working on a serve for Wild Eve using botanicals we picked earlier or, if we’ve had a delivery of fruit, I might be dehydrating the peel and making a curd from the juice. Every day is collaborative, different and creative.
For lunch, I often eat oatcakes and cheese with an apple. There are so many brilliant Scottish cheeses available it’s always a treat to go to the deli fridge and choose one. Plum chutney is currently my favourite, so I’ll eat that with either Tain Cheddar or Cora Linn. Coffee is one of my pleasures. I’ve just bought a 12kg Probat roaster which is arriving soon. At the moment one of my lunchtime joys is to work on our coffee offering. I’m really enjoying the Ethiopian Buriso Dambi – it’s utterly delicious.
Social media is important, so each day I’ll spend an hour or two taking or finding photos. I also write blog posts for all three companies which takes a surprising amount of time.
Back out with the dogs, then I catch up on miscellaneous things before cooking supper. In winter I often cook casseroles, roasted veg and rice dishes for dinner. Having lived in Cyprus for seven years I cook a lot of Turkish and Greek food. I always have a good supply of pekmez (fruit molasses) which give a fantastic sweet and sharp note to any sauce and we make our own preserved lemons which are brilliant with fish.
You’ll usually find me on the sofa surrounded by animals as I slowly wind down.