It is possible to make a Farmer smile!

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LD_200b (1.7)Sometimes salmon farming seems to be about how much of a kicking a person can absorb. If it isn’t the weather or some new disease or just plain bad luck, then it will be one of the paid activists trying to disrupt our production or our market. I have ignored the effect of government as I don’t want to start foaming at the mouth.

So, when the sun comes out and it is warm then usually something goes wrong to ensure that the smile doesn’t come. Well farmers are generally unhappy about life but not this one and not this week. I could tell you that our wonderful team is producing some of the best fish I have seen or that sizes are right and prices are good – but that wouldn’t be the reason. The fact is that the biggest smile comes when people remind you why you farm animals for the market.

They say that most people find it hard to complain but I think people find it harder to tell people what a good job they are doing when they are. I know, having just come back from Africa, that there are plenty of people that were very kind and I have tried to thank them but somehow the time is never there to do it properly and anyway they know that I am grateful, or so I tell myself.

Then there are some people who actually bother to write, who take the time to sit down and add something to someone else’s life. This came into our sales office this week:

I have just recently returned from visiting my son and his family in San Francisco.   A couple of days prior to my leaving SF we all went to xxxxx xxxxx for lunch.   When I saw Loch Duart salmon listed on the menu my first thought was that that was a very Scottish sounding name but here I was, thousands of miles away from Scotland!   When the waiter took my order I asked him where Loch Duart was and was very surprised when he said they dealt with a company in Scotland.   I have to say I was very sceptical about this and the next day I ‘googled’ Loch Duart and have to admit I was somewhat surprised at what I found – and mentally apologised to our waiter for my disbelief.   

I am very fond of salmon and have to say what I had at xxxxx xxxxx was the nicest, best tasting piece of salmon I have ever had.   It was absolutely delicious – it tasted so light and fresh it felt as though it had just been taken from the water!   Just wanted to tell you of my experience.

I  owe this person(ID and hotel name removed pending permission in these days of data protection) a big debt of thanks because it is people like her that make it worthwhile doing what we do.  If there is no better reason to get up in the morning than to be able to put our fish in front of people who value it, then this one is enough for me.

Then to add to my already beaming face, another e mail came in:

We still love to use Loch Duart in all of our restaurants and are very proud to advise friends and customers alike to use it also and why they should.

The email went on to say how they have opened a new venue in addition to their award-winning restaurant in Scotland and that it too would be using our salmon. This customer was shocked that there are anti-salmon farming journalists who have a blanket view and suggested that we should try to inform them better. We will try, we always do.

So there is the beginning of the reason why I have a big smile today. The final piece of the jigsaw is a very personal one. My mother and father are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary today (2nd May). They are going to get a card from the Queen though they don’t know it yet. It is a wonderful achievement to have been together so long and to be so comfortable together. My mother rang me at the weekend and said that she was going to have a small party, 60 people this coming weekend to celebrate. Not a small party if you ask me but she wasn’t. She pointed out that, at her age, she couldn’t do it all so she was going to employ a caterer, who told her that there would be salmon on the menu. Mum told me in an exasperated voice that she had told the woman that there was only one salmon which would get on her menu. You can guess which!

Now I don’t care who you are or what you do, accolades are a great thing. People taking the time to tell you what they think and thank you is another but, if you really want to see someone smile, watch them after their mother has said something like that. I am proud to be their son and proud that they will put our salmon on the menu to celebrate their achievement.

Nick Joy