SCOTTISH Food and Drink Fortnight started this week and runs until September 20. It is always a welcome opportunity to focus on Scotland’s world-class produce.

This year, as businesses continue their recovery from the pandemic and lockdown, it has never been more important to showcase what the industry has to offer and remind people why it is so vital to support local food and drink producers.

Our recovery locally is going to depend to a large degree on accentuating what we already do well. Long known as Scotland’s ‘Garden County’, East Lothian’s food and drink sector is without doubt one of the areas in which we excel, with local producers making some of the finest food and drink to be found anywhere in the UK and exporting their products around the globe.

I visited two local producers based in Macmerry: Edinburgh Preserves and Buck and Birch, which makes Aelder Elixir. We discussed the challenges they have faced over recent months and how they plan to proceed. Like most businesses, these two have received Government support to help them get through this difficult time, and I was pleased to hear they are also feeling positive about the future.

Both businesses have also benefited from the support of East Lothian Food and Drink Ltd. This is an innovative local partnership, the first of its kind, using the Business Improvement District (BID) model to operate on a sectoral rather than geographic basis.

So, while there is much to remain positive about in East Lothian’s thriving food and drink sector, Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight is an opportunity to remind consumers that local businesses need their support more than ever.

The message is clear: please shop local and support our outstanding food and drink producers.