A funding scheme run by Aberdeenshire Council is helping a family business at Fordoun, Laurencekirk, to broaden its range of produce.
Castleton is a family-run business which specialises in producing soft fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and cherries for the likes of Marks and Spencer, Tesco and local outlets.
Growing local demand resulted in the opening of a purpose-built farm shop in 2008, employing over 25 people and combining an outlet for fresh local produce as well as gifts, speciality foods and a popular café.
In a further development, surplus fruit has found a new market with the development of Castleton Handmade Jam and the start of a new chutney range providing an opportunity for further business diversification.
New developments often come at a cost and to help take the new product ranges forward an application was made to Aberdeenshire Council’s Support for Aberdeenshire Business Scheme to assist with market development.
Under the scheme, a 50% grant of up to £2620 was awarded to assist with packaging design, labelling and market development costs.
Anna Mitchell, of Castleton, said: “We are producing a really high quality product at Castleton and Aberdeenshire’s SAB grant has helped us to develop new lines that will help us grow and meet our customers’ expectations.”
Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Cllr Peter Argyle, said: “The SAB initiative can give a business just the boost it needs to bring a product to a new audience, or simply provide advice to help a fledging business find its feet.’’