A passion for organic growing, past professional experience and being in the right place at the right time when a plot of land became available provided Shetland-born Rosy McLean and her partner, David Demjanovic, with the opportunity they needed to set up their own organic farm. Battling driving rain, gale force winds and hungry rabbits, the couple launched Meadowsweet Organics in February. Named after a perennial herb, the business grows organic medicinal, culinary and wild-crafted herbs as well as locally grown cut flowers, fresh vegetables and salad crops on land at the Falkland Estate.
Q. How and why did you start in business? I never imagined I would have my own business and have always lived by the rule of doing what I love, so when that no longer seemed available to me in normal employment and a golden opportunity appeared in April last year I jumped for it and haven't looked back since.
Q. How did you get to where you are today? Over the past year I have really surprised myself and achieved many milestones that I didn't expect myself to be capable of, like writing a business plan, getting to grips with book-keeping and running our own farmer's market stall. Help and support from others has been the main driving force as well as lots of passion for what I do and determination.
Q. Who has helped you along the way? My partner David is number one as we have been together in this from the beginning and support each other whether putting up a polytunnel in a gale, getting up at 5 a.m. to pick salads for market or doing the book-keeping. Friends and family have been extremely helpful and supportive, encouraging us and helping out with the weeding or just being at the end of the phone after a hard day. We have also been helped a huge amount by Business Gateway Fife whose support helped us secure finance that went towards our start-up costs, their courses and one-to-one advice from our adviser Shona Morrison helped us learn valuable business skills like business plan writing, advertising and how to promote Meadowsweet.
Q. What was your biggest mistake? Too early to say, although the biggest peril for any veg grower is the seed catalogue and being tempted to grow far more than you can manage.
Q. What is your greatest achievement to date? Last year, before starting Meadowsweet Organics, I worked on someone else's stall at the Farmer's Market and at Realfoods organic grocer in Edinburgh. So it now feels like a big achievement to sell our produce from our own plus supply Realfoods!
Q. What do you hope to achieve in the future? I am halfway through training as a herbalist, so I would like to become qualified and to grow and sell more medicinal herbs and develop into tincture making and producing Scottish organic herbs.
Q. Do you want to recruit in the future? We would like to recruit some extra help from next year as the 2.5 hectares is a lot for the two of us to manage.
Q. What is the hardest thing about running your own business? Knowing when to switch off and take personal time.
Q. Any advice to wannabe entrepreneurs? If you have a dream or idea explore it, do some research and try writing a business plan, it’s not as complicated as it might seem. I also recommend attending some of the Business Gateway Fife fully funded courses. These can make your idea suddenly seem a lot more attainable and realistic.
Q. How would your friends describe you? Independent, smiley and happy.
Q. Favourite film and book? Film - The Notebook; book - The Prophet, Khalil Gibran.
Q. How do you relax? Going for walks in the forest with Luna, my five-month-old Lurcher puppy.
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