One of the most noticeable things about the high streets of Dumfries and Galloway is that many still have an independent butcher. This is in keeping with the region’s reputation for locally produced meat, but it nonetheless comes as a pleasant surprise in a day when for many people a pre-packed joint from a supermarket is the only option. Greengrocers, too, are not uncommon, and every town has at least one baker.
This is very much a part of the world where individuality and distinctiveness hasn’t been completely lost in town centres. Castle Douglas in particular is celebrated for its range of independent shops and is the region’s official ‘Food Town’. It even has its own high street brewery. In the far west, Stranraer now hosts an annual Oyster Festival.
Local specialities suggest the region has a sweet tooth and include Moffat Toffee (available from the eponymous shop in Moffat), Cream o’ Galloway ice cream, Galloway Lodge Preserves range of marmalades, jams and jellies, and chocolate from the Cocoabean Company. Locally produced meat and locally caught fish are both widely available, the latter notably from smokehouses in the west of the region.
A few producers to note are Galloway Smokehouse, Marrbury Smokehouse, Clash Farm and The Ethical Dairy. The Little Bakery in Dumfries has teamed up with the Galloway Cattle Society to produce the Galloway pie: Galloway beef in a rich gravy encased in a Scotch pie shell with a puff pastry top.
An increasing number of distilleries and breweries is spread across
the region making whisky, gin, rum and beer. There are also a couple of surprising producers (surprising for this part of the world, that is), one is a winery and the other a tea grower.
Farmers’ markets are the place to go for a good cross-section of local producers. Markets are held regularly in Moffat, Langholm, Lockerbie, Dumfries, Creetown and Wigtown. Up-to-date details of where and when are posted on the Dumfries and Galloway Farmers’ and Community Markets website. Regular stalls at the markets cover an impressively wide spectrum of foods and crafts, from fudge, beer, chillies and cheese to artists, jewellers and soap-makers.