You may not know them by name, but if you sampled our menu at the No.1 Bistro you will definitely know them by flavour! This month we are proud to introduce John O Groats Produce, the suppliers of our most cherished side dish – the spuds.
Selling potatoes across local Caithness shops dating back from 1955, the brand John O Groats Produce have deep roots in Caithness agriculture. As times changed, so did the team. Through expanding both acreage and vegetable range, the name John O Groats Produce has come to represent some of the freshest quality of produce Caithness has to offer.
Here to tell us the story behind the brand who put the pro in produce is Don Mowat, head of the family business.
Could you tell us a little bit about your business?
‘Our family run farm is actually a collection of about nine crofts in John O Groats with all of our produce being grown and packed to farm assured standards.
All of our products are packed and washed, packed and stored in our insulated store house. The business itself is entirely family run between ourselves, one regular member of staff and occasional seasonal workers who help during potato harvesting.
Additionally, I personally deliver our products five days a week to guarantee absolute freshness. You’ll find that most of our goods are in store within eighteen hours of cutting in the field!’
What do you offer?
‘We offer five different varieties of potato, mostly of old traditional varieties with a defined flavour. These can all be bagged in a variety of weights depending upon suitability.
Additionally, we offer six different varieties of Swedes, giving a season from August to late May. Our Cabbage range extends to Green, White, Red and Savoy offering a season from July to April. Given the high exposure of our Highland location, we only offer Cauliflower & Calabrese from August to early December.’
What makes your company stand out or special?
‘Our business prides itself on the quality and freshness of our produce, all of which is grown and packed locally which reduces food miles to an absolute minimum.
We take farm assurance and our carbon footprint very seriously. We have been fully accredited members of the Red Tractor scheme since its inception nearly two decades ago. Additionally, we are also full members of WMS for all of our livestock.
Over the past decade we have been involved in many environmental schemes and have planted some 800m of new hedging and have created numerous pongs and wetlands to encourage and increase the biodiversity on our holding.’
What do you like most about having a business in Caithness?
‘What’s not to like having a business in Caithness?
There is something for everybody; friendly people, a healthy clean environment, great landscapes and of course fantastic local produce.’
Which is your favourite place in Caithness?
‘My favourite place in Caithness would have to be John O Groats.
Nothing beats the feeling of coming over the Warth Hill and looking at the panoramic view of Groats the Pentland Firth and the Orkney Islands as a backdrop.’
If you would like to sample these earthy goods for yourself, you can find their fresh produce across numerous stores in Caithness or incorporated in many of our dishes at the No.1 Bistro!