Mackenzie’s Farm Shop and Café
If you are in the South Mainland of Shetland, then a stop at award-winning Mackenzie’s Farm Shop & Café in Cunningsburgh is a must! We caught up with owner Hazel Mackenzie and asked her about how Mackenzies Farm Shop & Café started and what makes Shetland produce so special.
“It’s the traceability of Shetland produce that makes it so special. The low carbon footprint and knowing exactly where it came from. For us, as a family, we regularly sit down to eat meals that are completely produced on our croft.”
Q. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
A. I’m Hazel Mackenzie and together with my husband Kenneth and family we own Mackenzies Farm Shop & Café, which is Britain’s most northerly, award winning, Farm Shop & Café. I was born in Shetland and brought up here on the South Mainland Croft at Aister in Cunningsburgh which our family have been stewards of for literally hundreds of years. We can trace our heritage back to 1750 and further!
Q. How did the farm shop & cafe come about?
A. ‘It all started with an egg!’ We had extra eggs on the croft one week and needed an outlet so we put an honesty box at the end of our road, once a week. This proved so popular that we added more produce but our honesty box was quickly too peerie and so we put one of our livestock trailers to good use and added lots more local produce such as bakery and dairy products.
In 2012 we also added two onsite self-catering properties; Nortower Lodges and guests were regularly asking where they could buy and eat ‘local produce’ when they arrived for their holiday. This prompted a discussion with my late Father-in-law around our kitchen table and it was then, the idea of a Farm Shop was born.
Q. What do you think makes Shetland produce so special?
A. I think it’s the traceability of Shetland produce that makes it so special. The low carbon footprint and knowing exactly where it came from.
For us, as a family, we regularly sit down to eat meals that are completely produced on our croft. Shetland animals eat the finest of what Shetland has to offer, be it banks grass, arable silage, neeps, meadow hay, Shetland Kale or heather moorland plants, all these homegrown foods make the meat truly taste delicious. Likewise the seafood in Shetland is from our local pristine waters, as you’re never more than 3 miles away from the sea, it’s never usually more than a day or two old when you’re consuming it.
The quality and traceability is definitely what makes Shetland produce unique!
Q. What can people expect when they visit your farm shop & cafe?
A. Mackenzie’s Farm Shop is situated at the side of the main A970 that runs through Shetland. My dream was to create a destination that is also a community hub. It’s spacious, modern & clean. We succeed in finding products that are a bit different.
Our chefs make delicious foods using our own and local produce and our local food supper nights are legendary! We’ve also a Beauty Salon, free wifi, visitor information, toilets, ample parking, and an outside seating area for people who want to bring their dogs. We have easy access for those with restricted mobility throughout the whole building. There are super walks around about us and locals & visitors alike park up, go for a walk and then come back along for lunch and afternoon tea.
We’ve recently released our newest product – home grown Aister ‘oo’! We shear our 100+ native Shetland sheep by hand and the wool is processed into a beautiful range of natural and dyed shades. We’ve had patterns made up of gloves and keps (hats) and the results are very satisfying for both the sheep and the Crofter!
Q. What’s one local delicacy you recommend everyone must try
A. That’s an easy one – my sister-in-law makes our own range of jams, marmalades (available onboard NorthLink Ferries ships), chutneys and relish in our Farm Shop kitchen.
Our Spiced Pepper & Tomato Relish is delicious and it has just won a prestigious 2-star award from The Guild of Fine Food Awards. It’s only available in our Farm Shop at present. Another favourite is our award-winning Beetroot Chutney made with delicious home-grown Shetland beetroot.
Find out more about Mackenzie’s Farm Shop & Café by visiting www.mackenziesfarmshop.co.uk
A young quine with an energetic sense of adventure but dire sense of direction! Born and bred in the North East of Scotland with a long loving appreciation of the Scottish islands.