Serving Scotland: Mint, Thyme and Chillies - 28 August 2020

As we approach Love Lamb Week (Tuesday 1 September – Monday 7 September) it is important to support to the fantastic local producers who grow the herbs which bring the best out of Scotch Lamb PGI

Whether you are looking for the traditional mint sauce on the side of your lamb chop, sprigs of thyme for the lamb roast dinner or even some chillies to give a kick to your lamb curry, you might be surprised at how many ingredients can be sourced from local, Scottish farms.

One such farmer producing all three of these lamb accompaniments is Sheena Horner, who farms and owns Galloway Chillies and is a NFUS Dumfries and Galloway member.

Starting off as a standalone Scottish chilli farm in December 2012, Galloway Chillies has developed over the years and now produces a range of herb as well, including 25 different varieties of mint.

Speaking on the development of her business and growing unique produce for a Scottish farm, Sheena said: “When I started growing it was from my love of chillies and spicy food but over the last 18 months it has really progressed into growing herbs. But not just herbs, hardy herbs. Herbs that are able to last.

“At the moment I’m just concentrating on building up the range. We’ve got 25 different varieties of mint, from all different flavours, and they don’t just to go with lamb. We’ve got flavours to go in desserts, savoury flacours, we’ve even got a lemon and lime flavoured mints, which go great in gin.

“I am a great lover of meat though and will have mint sauce with my lamb. I totally agree with eating seasonal and local meat.”

Supporting local and seasonal businesses is an important aspect of Sheena and Galloway Chillies’ approach but has become even more important to the business since the Covid-19 pandemic hit earlier this year.

“We were all set to put our herbs into restaurants and other sections of the hospitality industry, after a very successful trade show appearance earlier in the year. Unfortunately, a little thing call Covid hit and scuppered our plans for 2020.  

“So, for now the herb side is relying on a few bits of business we had from before the pandemic happened as well as a shop window in one of the local shops in Wigtown. I’ve got a stand in there which has plants and herbs on it. But at the moment I’m just concentrating on building up the range.”

Despite their set backs in 2020, Sheena and Galloway Chillies are still growing and seasoning the dinners of folk in Dumfries and Galloway, and beyond, and hopefully will have her 25 varieties of mint in wider circulation soon.

So whether you are a traditionalist with your thyme gravy and mint sauce on the side, or if you’re more like Sheena and fancy a bit of spice with your Scotch Lamb PGI, why not try and make your Love Lamb Week meal with some other fresh Scottish ingredients this year.

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