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Forfar jam maker Kim vows to protect ‘traditional skills’ with handmade butter

With new 14,000 square feet premises, Kim feels like she's reached 'big girl pants stuff' as she adds butter to her artisan range of goods.

Hamish and Kim holding a plate of Bothy Butter outside the Bothy Larder
Hamish Millar, North Street Dairy owner, and Kim Cameron, Gin Bothy founder. Image: Mhairi Edwards/DC Thomson

In new Forfar premises, gin and jam entrepreneur Kim Cameron will be continuing a 100-year-old tradition of butter making in Angus.

The new Bothy Larder opens on Thursday, October 19, on Lochside Road, selling the new handmade Bothy Butter range.

Kim has taken over the butter recipe from family business North Street Dairy, which sold its operations to Kerr’s Dairy in January.

Hamish Millar, who ran North Street Dairy with his mum Aileen and sister Alison, has been teaching Kim and her team how to make butter using his grandmother’s 45-year-old recipe.

Unfortunately, there are no dairy producers left in Angus, but Kim plans to use Scottish cream to keep the butter making tradition in Forfar.

“For me, and my passion for Scottish food and drink, I didn’t want to see another traditional handmade product go from this area,” she says.

A shelf of unsalted butter in the Bothy Larder
The new range of Bothy Butter. Image: Mhairi Edwards/DC Thomson

“This means we keep a traditional skill in Forfar, which I’m really passionate about and we talk about in the Bothy at Glamis.

“There’s a butter churn there, there [are] butter paddles there, and for me and my generation, if we lose some of these things, we’ve lost something really special.”

All Bothy products under one roof

With the new 14,000 square feet premises on Lochside Road, Kim has space for offices, jam and butter making, as well as the shop. The Bothy Larder is open from 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday.

Originally, the plan was to move the distillery under the same roof too, but Kim’s already out of space.

So, she’s keeping The Bothy Experience in Glamis, finding a new spot to make gin, and making herself at home in the new Forfar premises.

“This feels like big girl pants stuff,” Kim laughs.

Hamish and Kim packaging butter together.
Hamish has worked with Kim all year to teach her butter making. Image: Mhairi Edwards/DC Thomson

“This is now where our butter’s produced, our jam’s produced, we were looking to put the still in here, but it’s not big enough. So, we’re going to be looking to distil on a separate site.

“It’s given us the space to be able to bring everything under one roof.”

For two months, the Bothy team have worked to get the former Agricar site fit for food production. Hamish, Kim, Janette and Moragh have prepared many batches of butter this week to get ready for today’s opening.

How is Bothy Butter made?

First, cream goes into the butter churner with a bit of salt – unless it’s unsalted butter of course.

After a few minutes, Hamish opens a valve on the side and buttermilk pours out. As Gin Bothy was born from jam by-products, making scones with the buttermilk is next on Kim’s list of ideas.

Next, water goes into the churner to wash the butter, and it goes through a few cycles to come out clear. With disinfected hands, Hamish picks up the butter and puts it in a tube.

Bothy Butter coming out of the butter churner
Kim, Janette and Hamish are ready to package the butter. Image: Mhairi Edwards/DC Thomson

This tube goes onto a tool which squeezes out the fresh butter in a sausage shape, which Kim cuts into 200g blocks. Janette and Moragh sprinkle Blackthorn salt on top and roll the butter up.

Hamish says: “I’ve been teaching Kim and Janette how to make the butter.

“It’s not all the time that it goes right. Everything has to do with different factors, cream temperature, water temperatures, so it’s teaching them to know what to do with it when it goes wrong.”

The new butter makers have been eagerly learning for months, and the full Bothy team has expanded to 19 female staff.

Janette, Hamish, Kim and Moragh packaging up the Bothy Butter.
All the Bothy Butter is made and packaged by hand. Image: Mhairi Edwards/DC Thomson

Kim says: “It’s a very expensive product to produce.

“It’s very labour intensive, so it’s not something that would work as a standalone, but when we add it to a portfolio with our jam, there’s a link sale there.”

What’s on offer at Bothy Larder?

As well as Kim’s existing range of gins, jams, rum and Hipflask Spirits – and the new Bothy Butter – the larder will showcase local food producers.

A display inside Bothy Larder
Inside the new Bothy Larder. Image: Mhairi Edwards/DC Thomson

To complement the butter and jam, Bothy Larder will stock bread from the Newport Bakery. Other Angus producers include Artisana Brownies and Phlump marshmallows.

Kim hopes that if people are in Forfar doing some shopping, they’ll stop by the larder to grab some local produce.

Furthermore, Hamish hopes to see the local community support Bothy Butter as much as they have supported North Street Dairy.

“I’m really pleased for her, she’s very enthusiastic about everything,” he says.

“My family’s really excited that it’s getting kept on. Hopefully the people of Forfar – because they’ve supported me – will support Kim as well.”