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Charcuterie from a farm in the Highlands? Yes that’s right

The Mathesons produce a range of charcuterie products.
The Mathesons produce a range of charcuterie products.

When you think of charcuterie, it’s unlikely you think about the Highlands yet one farming couple from the region is producing a range of cured meats from their base near Tain.

Caroline and Alec Matheson have been at Bogrow Farm since 2012, after initially moving to the holding following a hunt for a bigger house with fields for ponies.

Alec, who currently works as an offshore diver for half of the year, has previously worked on estates and grew up on a farm near Strathnairn.

Him and his wife Caroline didn’t plan to launch a farming business, but after starting with a few animals their enterprise has now grown to the point where they are looking to employee a member of staff.

“We started off with just a few animals, selling fresh sausages and burgers,” said Caroline.

Caroline and Alec Matheson.

Fast forward 10 years and the 90-acre farm is now home to four Gloucester Old Spot sows and their offspring, 25 Aberfield cross ewes, and four Luing cows, a bull and followers.

The couple finished 48 pigs last year, and they plan to finish 35 this year.

The majority of beef from the Bogrow herd is sold as fresh meat in boxes, and some is used to make salami, while the majority of lambs are sold through the auction market with some kept for producing meat.

“Before we started doing the cured products, we used to do fresh sausages, burgers and bacon,” said Caroline.

“The bacon was so popular that we won a Great Taste Award, so we still make that.”
She said all the pork from the farm is used to make bacon and charcuterie products.

“We take the pigs to Dingwall to the abattoir and we do all the rest here on the farm at a purpose-built butchery facility we built in 2020,” added Caroline.

The couple, who have two children – Murdo, 17, and Ella, 13 – also prepare and sell a range of venison products, including venison salami.

Alec said: “We have taken on a bit of ground which marches with the farm, and we are quite keen on keeping food miles to a minimum, so having venison is a bonus for us.

“We are looking to shoot around 25 deer a year, and that’s with myself doing that with our son.”

Alec Matheson with some of the products being cured at the farm.

All venison is processed at a small purpose-built deer larder on the farm, with most of the meat going into the charcuterie business and the remainder sold fresh or used by the family.

Caroline said although many customers at farmer’s markets are apprehensive about buying fresh venison meat, the farm’s venison salami always sells well.

She said: “We sell from our website too where you can buy any of our charcuterie and it goes from Shetland down to Devon in the south coast of England.

“That was another reason for going down the curing route as it’s so much easier to sell.”

The couple produces its charcuterie range – which also features salami, coppa and an air-dried ham – year-round with some products requiring a curing time of between six and eight weeks, and others needing up to six months to cure.

In the future, the Mathesons would like to expand their offering to include an agritourism experience, and they are currently involved in Scottish Agritourism’s mentoring scheme.

Caroline said: “Initially we will offer an experience where you can get a tour of the farm and the facilities, and a tasting of the products that we produce.”

The couple also hopes to double the size of their small herd of Luing cattle to eight cows.

Some of the Luing cattle at Bogrow Farm.

For now though, the couple will continue producing their range of fresh and cured meats, and preparing to attend and showcase their wares at various events this summer.

These include: Taste of Grampian at the P&J Live in Aberdeen on June 4; the Royal Highland Show at Ingliston, near Edinburgh, on June 23-26; and the Black Isle Show in Muir of Ord on August 4.

More information about Bogrow Farm is available online at

The new Scottish food products to treat yourself to this summer

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