Huntly Hairst Food and Farming Festival

Tuesday 10 September 2013
It was back in June at the Taste of Grampian that I picked up a leaflet for the Huntly Hairst. On paper it looked like it would be a great event and in real life it didn't disappoint. We headed up to Huntly on Saturday morning and traveled through a variety of weathers en route but the sun was shining on our arrival. The square of this market town was the ideal setting with a host of interesting stalls making up an extended Farmers Market. The perfect way to kick off Scottish Food Fortnight celebrations. 
I had foolishly forgotten to pack a coolbag and ice packs but stalls were more than happy to hold onto any purchased chilled goods until the end of the day for us. Our first stop was at Huntly Herbs where we bought pink potatoes, stripey potatoes and Elderflower & Gooseberry Jam. Then to Granite City Fish for some Smoked Monk Cheeks, Tuna, Squid and Samphire. 
Next stop was my absolute favourite stall at the market. I have never seen such an amazing range of wonderfully exotic and colourful vegetables as we found at Glenview. All grown in a market garden in New Byth of all places. The fantastically friendly and knowledgeable stallholders answered all my queries. We left with a cucumber, chillis, tomatillos, yellow chard, squash and mooli. 
Boy and Girl were getting peckish by this point so we stopped off for a Dobab and some popcorn. Your eyes do not deceive you. It is indeed a kebab with mini donuts, marshmallows and chocolate sauce. Many napkins were required.
Time for a cookery demo and we headed to the community kitchen at The Linden Center for a Can't Cook Won't Cook event where the deputy heads of the local schools battled for supremacy. In just one hour they cooked a three course meal for four. Butternut Squash & Apple Soup, Green Risotto and Fruit Ginger Crunch. We got to try all the dishes at the end and vote on our favourites. Boy and Girl have both requested that we have a go at making the soup and the pudding.
Time for lunch with a barbecued burger from The Store. The grated cheese, creamy coleslaw and crispy salad leaves certainly beat a plastic cheese slice and a squirt of Tommy K.
Sustinance found it was time for another wee burl round the stalls to buy Pita Bread, Garlic Rapeseed Oil, Oatcakes and Minced Beef Pinwheels. It was thirsty work so time to investigate the Beer Festival.
Twenty Two Beers on offer within the Gordon Arms. A great mix of Ales and Ciders on offer with something to suit everyone. I went for a Ginger Thistly Cross Cider and Foodie Loon had a Harviestoun Shiehallion. Boy and Girl had a blue slush.
One of the main events of the day was the Fishy Tale cookery demonstration by local loon Kilted Chef Craig Wilson of Eat on the Green. He was accompanied onstage by Baukje de Roos of the Rowett Institute who gave an insight into all things nutritional. On the menu was a starter of Crepe filled with Hot Smoked Salmon, main was Sweet and Sour Salmon with a Deans of Huntly Shortbread & Herb Crust and Desert was a concoction of mango, chocolate, chilli, Cointreau and Rizzas of Huntly Ice Cream.
Following on from the demo was the serious business of judging the World Stovie Championship. Lots of entries in the traditional category but only three in the exotic  After much deliberation between the top three the winner was announced with local lad Tom Foley taking first prize in both categories.
Home from a great day with a fantastic haul of foodie goodies:
Squid, Smoked Monkfish Cheeks, Tuna & Samphire from Granite City Fish Minced Beef Pinwheels and Oatcakes from Forbes Raeburn

Garlic Rapeseed Oil from Ola Oils 

Squash, Chard, Mooli, Cucumber, Chillis and Tomatillos from Glenview 
Jam, Chutney and Potatoes from Huntly Herbs
Pita Bread from Findhorn Bakery
Here's what I've made so far from my purchases:
Penne Pasta with Yellow Chard, Smoked Monkfish Cheeks and Garlic Rapeseed oil topped with Tuna
Squid & Barley. As cooked by 8 year old Laura Townsend for Raymond Blanc.
Minced Beef Pinwheels with Pink Potato Wedges and Roasted Courgette and Golden Beetroot.
Green Tomatillo (Mexican Husked Tomatoes) Salsa
Still got lots of delicious goodies to use on my meal plan this week. Have been thoroughly enjoying my Elderflower & Gooseberry Jam on my toast to start the day. A real taste of Summer on an Autumn morning thanks to Huntly Herbs and Huntly Hairst.

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