At the end of a summer which has seen north east Fife food producers and food outlets pick up many awards, speciality vinegar producer The Little Herb Farm has joined the roll of honour.
The business is facing up to Asda and Tesco in their category of the Quality Food Awards, described as the most prestigious awards for food and drink products.
For co-owners and friends Lindsey Anderson and Michelle Wilkinson success has come quickly - they took the business on in April and since then, as well as developing and producing their range of flavoured vinegars, they have been concentrating on establishing a new brand for the company.
The two struck up their friendship at the school gate in St Andrews and while they both have experience of the catering industry, Lindsey was a teacher and Michelle, after graduating from art school, worked in the City.
Now operating between their homes in St Andrews and Pittenweem, they spend their time boiling fine white wine vinegar with their locally sourced herbs and fruit, before cooling and bottling, labelling and date stamping - at their kitchen tables.
But they have ambitions.
“We want to get our produce country-wide,” Michelle said, “and while we are not there yet, our vinegars are certainly widely available already.”
Local farm and specialist food stores have the range, which includes the award-nominated strawberry and basil vinegar, along with raspberry and rosemary, raspberry, mint and dill, and blackcurrant and thyme. The two also produce seasonal vinegars including this summer tayberry and sage.
“All the ingredients we use are sourced locally,” Michelle explained, “and a lot of the herbs come from our own or our parents’ gardens.”
Of the success so far, Lindsey said: “Not bad for a wee company from Fife!
“Especially since earlier this year we picked up an award in the Great Taste awards for our mulled blackberry vinegar.”
Now, as well as looking forward to the November awards ceremony, Lindsey and Michelle are busy working on new lines, with jams and marmalades under development.