Sales and jobs boost as social enterprise steps up food production on Arran

A social enterprise producing food on the island of Arran is eyeing a six-figure sales boost and new jobs.

The processing area will enable Woodside Arran to increase its production of fruit and vegetables by up to 50 per cent.
The processing area will enable Woodside Arran to increase its production of fruit and vegetables by up to 50 per cent.

Woodside Arran has secured investment from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to erect a steel framed shed on its farm in Kildonan. It will house a new processing area, storage room, kitchen and education facility, and enable the business to keep up with demand for local produce.

The processing area will enable the venture to increase its production of fruit and vegetables by up to 50 per cent, while also extending product shelf-life, while the storage area will allow produce to be stored in a temperature-controlled environment.

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Products such as chutneys, quiches and pesto will be produced in the kitchen, and sold via the farm’s vending machine in Brodick.

Various educational opportunities will be created using the onsite classroom, including a nine-month mentorship programme, volunteer days and school visits.

The £90,000 project is expected to create two jobs and increase Woodside Arran’s turnover by more than £220,000. It will also continue contributing to the net zero agenda through the elimination of food miles generated in the supply of fresh produce to the island.

Woodside Arran was formed in 2017 by husband-and-wife team Andrew and Jennifer Macdonald.

Jennifer said: “The new harvesting shed part funded by HIE is going to have a significant impact on Woodside Arran’s productivity and social impact.

“Over these last few difficult years, the need for resilient, all-season local food production has become clearer than ever and with HIE’s support we at Woodside are going to be able to provide this for our community, while creating jobs and offering additional outreach and education opportunities due to having this infrastructure in place.”

Morag Goodfellow, HIE area manager for Argyll and the Islands, added: “Woodside Arran has played a pivotal role in providing fresh produce for the Arran community throughout the pandemic. We are delighted to see demand for this increase to the point that they need to expand capacity and diversify their offering.

“There are many benefits to this project. It will expand the range of local produce available; it will create more jobs on Arran, and it will contribute to the wider net zero agenda.”

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