Whalsay Made goodies at the click of a button!

9 May 2020

We are delighted to have added Whalsay Made’s delicious array of preserves, chutneys and sauce to the Taste of Shetland online shop.

Among the goodies produced in small batches by Donna Polson are a sweet chilli sauce, beetroot chutney, carrot chutney, carrot marmalade, gin & lime marmalade and homemade fudge. And when it’s in season she also makes rhubarb jam and chutney.

Donna first began making sauce as a way to use up the many chillies she was growing in her Whalsay greenhouse, settling upon a recipe through trial and error.

Donna Polson of Whalsay Made at last year's Taste of Shetland festival.Donna Polson of Whalsay Made at last year's Taste of Shetland festival.Demand has grown gradually since she first started donating bottles to charity sales, before attending a Business Gateway course in Lerwick. Armed with that experience, plus valuable advice from Scoop Wholefoods and the Island Larder, she began growing her small business.

Last year she attended the Taste of Shetland festival (pictured right) and “received great feedback from customers”. In addition to selling all her produce through an honesty box in her house porch, at markets and Sunday teas, she is also now stocked by retailers in Lerwick and Brae.

Wherever possible she uses local ingredients, including Shetland Reel gin, Ness carrots and Whalsay rhubarb.

“I have always made preserves for our own use, just like many Shetland households,” she said. “Wir midder was aye baking un she aye hed jars filled we jam un beetroot to see wis trow da winter. So I always try to have beetroot to pickle and to make into chutney, my sister gave me that recipe.

“We grew up on a peerie croft un ate a lot o local produce, un still do. Wir folk grew vegetables, we hed pigs whan we wir peerie, sheep for mutton un plenty o fish. I think we habe so much to offer here in Shetland whan it comes to food un we just need to build on the publicity o dis.”

Making this sweet chilli sauce at home was what prompted Donna to start her own small businessMaking this sweet chilli sauce at home was what prompted Donna to start her own small businessWhen she was growing up in Whalsay – a fishing community of 1,000 people known as ‘Da Bonnie Isle’ – there were two days, Tuesdays and Thursdays, when fresh goods arrived.

Donna said: “They were da ‘shoppy days’. Among this was bakers’ products, bread had to be frozen to see you ower da helly [weekend]. Part o dat still exists – you aye lay in extra supplies in the winter in case the ferry dusno run.

“So the rest of the week baking made up for what you couldna buy including bannocks, fancies etc. – it’s just what we grew up we.”

• You can now buy the Whalsay Made range of produce online at www.tasteofshetland.com/shop.


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