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Great Glen Charcuterie

Great Glen Charcuterie


Sometimes I think that the most innovative businesses in the UK, the ones changing and expanding existing markets, are producing food.

Such is Great Glen Charcuterie, based in Roybridge, near Fort William where Anja and Jan Jacob Baak aim to make their Scottish Venison Salami as recognisable as Parma Ham.

Anja and Jan Jacob originally moved to Scotland to look after the Highland estate for a fellow Dutchman. They saw an opportunity in the fact that for the stalkers the venison was almost a waste product and wasn’t commanding a high price.

Great Glen Charcuterie

Jan Jacob built a smoker in their garden and began transforming venison into delicious charcuterie while Anja fashioned baby booties out of deer leather while looking after their 6 children.

In 2003 they took the plunge, and both started to work full time in the business - gradually building up an impressive client base of chefs and high quality stockists.

Great Glen Charcuterie

Anja points out that this was just about the worst timing - just as they moved to a high end artisan product the economy tumbled “People were not buying expensive charcuterie and we really got hit in sales. It took years before we could start making any money and it was tough for our family”

Over the years though Anja has used Social Media to teach people about her product - how venison charcuterie is a healthier alternative to traditional pork, how not much is needed to transform a dish and to showcase how top chefs are using their chorizo, salami, pepperoni and bresaola in dishes. You can find her recipes on the Great Glen Charcuterie website

Great Glen Charcuterie

Now they process 250-300 kg of meat per week and their charcuterie is stocked in Fortnum and Mason and Harrods amongst other shops.

I asked Anja what her advice would be to someone wanting to start a business and she said

“Follow your heart, look at what you really enjoy doing and find a job in that sector. It might not be your dream job but start somewhere and get experience. My first job was as a bakery assistant”



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It is one of the things you learn to make in the Simple Herbal Apothecary course in the Studio Club. ⁠⠀
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Time.⁠⠀
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Yesterday I asked a question about luxury and the thing that came up again and again in answers was 'time'.⁠⠀
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Time to just be.  Time to do things for ourselves. Time to be creative or read. Time to focus.⁠⠀
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It made me think - that if we see time is our greatest luxury, why do we squander it so?  I know I do.  I scroll.  I dither. I catch myself almost deliberately doing nonsensical things that waste time to the point that it completely disappears.⁠⠀
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Give me an unexpectedly free evening and my natural tendency is to waste half of it deciding what I want to do MOST.⁠⠀
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What is your idea of luxury?⁠⠀
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I stumbled across a discussion about luxury on a post the other day. It was about whether you could crave luxury in your life if you were also set in “overthrowing the capitalist systems our world is based on”.⠀
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In some ways it was hilarious, and shows what a muddle we get into, but It really made me think about what I count as luxuries in my life  They certainly aren’t what the commenters on the original post defined as luxury - the fancy sports car, the designer brand names, expensive toiletries. ⁠⠀
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Rather, my idea of luxuries are things I want in my everyday life.  Proper coffee, clean sheets for the weekend, tomatoes still warm from the sun - perhaps most importantly, the luxury of time to do nothing more than stare upwards through bright leaves . . .⁠⠀
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What about you?⁠ what are your luxuries?⠀
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Messy edges.⁠⠀
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Pretty much everything in the House Garden and Studio Meadow will stand until Spring now.⁠ I will leave it alone. ⠀
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For in my head I'm not really growing teasels, I'm growing gold finches. 
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It is the time of the year to embrace the beauty in decay.⁠⠀
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To look at the soil regenerating.⁠⠀
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The appreciate the beauty of a good compost heap -even when it is composting the cosmos that you had hoped would bloom for a couple of more weeks.
Yesterday the doors of the Studio Club opened up to new members again. ⠀
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Nettles and docks and tansy and meadowsweet. ⁠⠀
Heather and willow and onion skins.⁠⠀
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The journey through plant colours this year is coming to fruition.  Out of frame is a striped jumper on my needles.⁠⠀
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I am hoping to have enough yarn to make something for a newly arrived baby - all the energy of the Scottish hills in something to wear.
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About Snapdragon Life

At Snapdragon Life I gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

 

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