Locals who work the heather moors in the Lammermuir Hills every day are raising awareness of their contribution to the community and the benefits of eating Scottish game by teaming with restaurants and hotels in a bid to get more people to try dishes such as fresh wild grouse
“Our group is about showing working life on the moors and at this time of the year, all the estate workers are really busy round-the-clock getting ready for the grouse season,” said Helen Savage, Co-Ordinator of the Lammermuirs Moorland Group.
Fresh game is already supplied to the restaurants of Michelin star chefs such as Tom Kitchen and to get more people cooking and trying it, the group is working to supply free fresh game to hotels in the Lammermuirs, to communicate the health benefits, taste and affordability of the wild grouse harvest and Scottish game.
Continues Helen Savage: “What we really wanted to get was more people eating the grouse because it is all part of a bigger cycle here. The gamekeepers provide good heather habitat and nesting opportunities for the wild birds all year round. If there is a large enough surplus to harvest, this brings people into the communities to shoot. This helps the area and the businesses and the fresh food is then eaten. The money is invested back into the moor and so it goes on.
“The more people get a chance to try the game produced, and the more chefs cook with it, the better. It has real flavour, it is wild and organic and there is next to no food miles. We are delighted chefs such as Tom Kitchin and Brian Grigor will be working with us, promoting the great taste and benefits.
“At local level, we will also be looking to donate some game to restaurants, butchers and hotels so more people can try it, appreciate it and see for themselves that it is not a meat which is out of reach.”
Michelin star chef Tom Kitchin said: “To me, grouse and the Glorious Twelfth symbolise all that is great about Scottish produce. The game we have access to here in Scotland is so outstanding, I always feel it’s my duty to share the passion I have for it. I hope that others can share in that enjoyment of cooking and eating wonderful Scottish grouse the moment it comes into season.”