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The Hairy Bikers visit Bute

The Hairy Bikers new Series 'Hairy Bikers Go West' recently aired on BBC Two and the first episode featured a visit to the beautiful Isle of Bute. The series focusses on local produce and locals trying to make a go of promoting what is available on their own doorsteps.

Last summer the Dave and Si aka the Hairy Bikers visited Bute as part of their ‘Go West’ series promoting local produce and small businesses. It was also an emotional journey as Dave discusses his recent battle with cancer.The first episode features their visit to the Isle of Bute and the local champions working to raise the profile of local produce. 

One of Bute’s newest ventures is the Gather Deli, which stocks a wide variety of local produce such as locally smoked salmon and trout, fresh baked breads, cheese and preserves as well as produce from around Scotland. 

Then a trip to personal favourite of mine, Helmi’s Patisserie, an absolute must on any visit to Bute. I challenge anyone to leave without trying at least one of their fabulous pastries. One of my previous guests told he went their every day during his visit !! The business is run by a lovely young Syrian family, who came to Scotland as refugees. They have created a wonderful business offering a variety of patisserie style pastries as well as some traditional Syrian snacks and treats.

Bute now only has one local butcher, a sad sign of the times and the march of the large supermarkets. However, the one we have is excellent. The lads (and lasses) at McQueens Butchers have been trading for decades and sell beef and lamb from local farms. You are guaranteed a smile, a bit of banter as well as tasty produce.

Dave and Si also visited a local venture called Bute Produce, which grows a selection of vegetables to be sold locally. Bute Produce mainly relies on volunteers, but also provides valuable work experience for young people looking to go into an agricultural career. Locals can purchase fresh vegetables from the site or order a regular mixed veggie box. The group have also been working to set up small gardens on disused pieces of land around the town, these have a few vegetables and herbs, which anyone can go and pick if they want to. 

Another new venture is the establishment of some truffle orchards, the locations are secret, apart from one located near Scalpsie Farm – also a great spot to watch a large seal colony who live nearby. A fantastic opportunity to develop Scottish grown truffles for sale to restaurants around the country. 

They ended their trip at the Bute Yard, a great venue and the home of Bute’s own Gin Distillery and Brewery. The yard is open for drinks and meals most days, but on the first Sunday of the month they hold a market showcasing all the local produce and arts and crafts from around the island. Including vegetables and flowers grown within the gardens of Mount Stuart House. A great day out, and guaranteed some good food and entertainment for all the family. 

The Isle of Bute is easily accessible via ferry from Wemyss Bay or Colintraive, a great day trip destination – come on over and take a look. 

 

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