Next up in the #MyEastLothian series is The Brand Family — who run East Fortune Farm, just outside Athelstaneford.
Last month, they opened their own farm shop, Brand’s Larder which stocks much of their home reared pork, lamb and eggs as well as a small selection of fruit and vegetables grown on the farm, and other delicious items to compliment these from some fabulous local producers. I spoke to Jane to find out a little more about them.
Tell us a bit about yourselves and what you do.
We are Jane and Grant Brand, 4th generation farmers at East Fortune Farm located in East Fortune, just outside Athelstaneford, North Berwick. We run two caravan parks on our farm as well as a holiday flat in North Berwick.
Grant only re-introduced livestock to the farm in 2010 with a small flock of Hampshire Down sheep, this has been incredibly successful for us and proved a real turning point for the business. The family have won many awards, including the accolade of Royal Highland Show Inter Breed Champion followed by the Overall Hampshire Down Breed Champion for four years running. Demand for our produce soon grew and quickly we were supplying our home reared lamb to friends and family as well as local restaurants. In 2017, we introduced pigs to the farm and our growing herd of Saddleback pigs are very content indeed. This widened our offering of produce, so opening a farm shop was a very natural next step for us, and so Brand’s Larder was born.
What drew you to open your business in East Lothian? What do you love about it?
My family spent many years enjoying caravanning holidays in North Berwick and then bought the holiday flat 3 Lorne Lane in the early 90’s so as I youngster I would come through during school holidays from Dollar and enjoy the summers on the beach, summer jobs in John Menzies and going to old haunts like the Quarterdeck. I met Grant one summer and we just hit it off immediately! We have now been together more than 20 years and we have enjoyed a real journey in terms of the farm, the shape of the business as well as bringing up two handsome boys, Ritchie (8) and Robert (7). It was actually my own Dad who in 2002, suggested we open a Caravan Park — the views are incredible and it was a great way to diversify into tourism. We now have two caravan parks and they are very popular, and the flat we own in North Berwick is rented out for holiday makers too.
Being based in East Lothian is just great for us, there are so many talented artisan producers which has made stocking our farm shop so easy! The beauty of the region of course attracts tourists which keep our business going. We are surrounded by a wonderful community of people who have been incredibly helpful and supportive of us and our growth.
Where’s your favourite spot in East Lothian?
My favourite spot is the West Beach, North Berwick straight down from our flat. I could sit there all day (if only I had the time!) watching everyone go by, the boys playing in the sand, the waves of the sea rolling in at the harbour — a lot of happy family memories there.
What’s your secret to success? Any mantra that helps you get up in the morning?
I think the family all working together here at East Fortune really keeps us going. We are keen to invest time, a lot of hard work and passion into the business ensuring that there will be something here at East Fortune Farm for many generations to come!