Bowhouse Link has provided a real lifeline for producers over the last 15 months and has helped inject thousands of pounds into the local economy.
Bowhouse food hub’s Bowhouse Link service has generated sales of local produce of more than £139,000 since it launched in April 2020 in a move that has ploughed money back into the local economy.
More than 1,200 orders have been delivered and in excess of 1,600 boxes collected using the specially created online shopping platform, which has listed more than 1,000 products from local food and drink producers.
The site also provided a vehicle for shoppers to give to the local foodbank with more than £3,000 donated over this period by Bowhouse Link users.
Bowhouse Link mission
Bowhouse was launched in 2017 with a mission to reconnect local produce with local consumers, for sustainable, seasonal eating all year round.
Forced to cancel their monthly market weekends in lockdown, Bowhouse Link was launched to provide access to local produce for local people.
It provides a platform for a growing number of local food and drink producers with a virtual marketplace open Monday to Wednesday. Customers select produce from small butchers, bakers, growers, brewers and other makers, for delivery or collection from the local hub each weekend.
As restrictions have now eased, the market weekends have now returned and will take place on the second week of July, August, September, October, November and December.
The collection of local food and drink producers and traders based at Bowhouse includes a miller transforming grains grown in the fields nearby into wholemeal flours; a butcher working closely with farmers on the estate; vegetable farmers; and an organic brewery and spirits producer.
Those based at Bowhouse include: organic beef, lamb, venison and pork from Butchery at Bowhouse, wholemeal organic flours from Scotland the Bread, pesticide free vegetables and salads from East Neuk Market Garden, spirits, ciders, beers and natural wines from Futtle Organic Brewery, fresh flowers from Keeping the Plot, and a range of household and pantry suppliers from zero-waste store Grain & Sustain.
Difficulty accessing fresh produce
Rosie Jack, market manager, said: “Bowhouse Link was launched at time when people had real difficulty in accessing fresh produce in the supermarkets.
“We were able to demonstrate the resilience of short, local supply chains with this online market and it was a way of supporting not just our customers, but also the wonderful food and drink makers we work with.
“This was a direct route to market for them at a time when our own markets had been forced to close.
“We hope people will continue to visit Bowhouse and support both our makers based here and visiting traders at the Market Weekends and also explore Bowhouse Link as a sustainable shopping outlet.”
Sophie Cumber, of Butchery at Bowhouse, said that beginning a new venture as a pandemic kicked in could have proved disastrous, but Bowhouse Link was a lifeline.
“Launching a new shop on the first week of lockdown was not how I envisioned my move to Fife,” she said.
“Overnight my hospitality clients had to close and I was left wondering how I would be able to market my stock. The Bowhouse Link has enabled me to now have returning customers visiting in store, at the market weekends and ordering through Bowhouse Link.”
Forthcoming market weekends (all Saturday and Sunday 10am-4pm, second weekend of each month), are Saturday and Sunday, July 10 and 11, 10am-4pm, August 14 and 15, September 11 and 12, October 9 and 10, November 13 and 14, and December 11 and 12.
The development of Bowhouse Link has been supported by Fife Council’s Economic Development Team, recognising the value of small businesses and farm to fork supply in Fife.
Fife Council’s service manager for economic development, Pamela Stevenson, confirmed the council’s support for Bowhouse Link.
She added: Their aims to connect residents closer to local producers through a trading platform has demonstrated success and is providing great opportunities for local businesses to benefit and flourish.
“We continue to support Fife’s food and drink sector as one of our key sectors.”