By Helen Cross

In the spotlight with....William and Angus Willis of Forest Farm, The Organic Dairy

William and Angus Willis are the dynamic duo behind the award winning organic Forest Farm Dairy, which is home to Scotland's first milk vending machine, established to provide the local community with the opportunity to buy milk from the cows they see grazing on their doorstep. This month we put William and Angus under the spotlight to find out what is next for the business and find out a little more about their foodie preferences.

In three words how would you describe Forest Farm? Organic, local and sustainable.

Where are you based and how many cows do you milk? We are located in Aberdeenshire, 10 miles north west of Aberdeen City Centre. We milk 140 cows.

What sets you apart from other dairies? We do not see ourselves as set apart from other dairies, as we work closely with many other farms, as well as OMSCo and the Scottish Organic Milk Producers Association.  We have, however, recently installed two milk vending machines on the farm. These are the first of their kind in Scotland and allow us to sell our fresh pasteurised milk directly from the farm.

What is your reaction towards the increasing number of those who are cutting out dairy from their diet and following a vegan diet? Everyone has a choice about where to source their food and drink. The nutritional value of dairy is well known and people all around the world include it as a staple part of their diet. It has an ideal source of nutrients such as vitamin A, B12, calcium, carbohydrates, and protein.  International research, published recently also shows the metabolic and cardiovascular benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in milk, particularly grass-fed milk. 

What is your background and what was the thinking behind setting up the dairy? Our family has been farming here in Aberdeenshire since 1989 and we have been certified as organic since 2000.  We were looking to diversify the business and identified a gap in the market in Aberdeenshire for the sustainable supply of fresh milk, which is produced and pasteurised locally. The milk vending machines were a good fit because they allow customers to fill up with milk the same day as it is produced and do so using our reusable glass bottles, rather than the plastic alternative. We also wanted to engage much more with our local community and have a viewing window to allow visitors to watch the cows being milked every day.

What is next in the pipeline for the dairy and what is your long term plan? We recently installed our second milk vending machine on the farm to keep up with demand and we are currently planning further diversification of the business.

What do you think the future looks like for the Scottish Dairy industry? Is there optimism? Scotland has fantastic dairy farms and produces many excellent products.  We are optimistic about the future.  We hope the industry can go from strength to strength and we think there may be an increase in the number of farms diversifying to produce exciting new products.

What are your five top Scottish food and drink products? Scottish Organic Milk, Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb, Black Isle Brewery Beer and The Garden Shed Drinks Co gin.

Dead or alive, which five people would you invite for dinner? We would have family.

What would be on the menu. A roast dinner with all the trimmings.


Strawberries are the star attraction of any kitchen garden in the summer. Plump, sweet and juicy, it can be hard to resist eating them straight away after picking. If you can resist then why not try this light and delicious recipe from AVA berries, who know a thing or two about growing delicious strawberries.

Quinoa, Strawberry, Avocado and Feta Salad


180g Uncooked Quinoa

200g pack of feta

1 bunch of spring onions

2 springs of mint picked and torn

Half a cucumber thinly sliced

2 baby gem lettuce halved  

2 avocado peeled and quartered

Natural Yoghurt

1 punnet of Strawberry’s sliced

Note; Pre-heat the grill on the highest setting


Start by cooking the quinoa. Best to follow the instructions on the back of the packet as some brands may vary, and put to one side once cooked.

Take the spring onions, gem lettuce and avocado and drizzle with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper and place on a baking tray and grill turning every now and then until they have a nice roasted look but not burnt. Put to one side once you’re happy there done.

In a large bowl crumble in the feta and add the sliced strawberries, mint, cucumber, cooked quinoa and grilled veg.Give it a good mix and season with salt and pepper.

Serve in to 4 bowls with some yoghurt.

Panna Cotta – served with apple and biscotti

If you’re looking for a luxurious way to round up a dinner party and impress friends, then this panna cotta recipe from cook book author, radio presenter and 2015 Great British Bake Off competitor, Flora Shedden is a winner. Using Graham’s the Family Dairy Gold Top milk and Gold Top Double Cream, you’ll find it difficult to resist stopping after just one pot!


Makes 4 large ones or 6-8 little ones

3 gelatine leaves

275ml Graham’s the Family Dairy Gold Top Jersey Double cream

275ml Graham’s the Family Dairy Gold Top milk

1 vanilla pod, cut in half lengthways

50g light brown sugar

1 eating apple (I use a Braeburn)

25g caster sugar

3 tbsp water

2 ginger nuts biscuits

20g hazelnuts, toasted

icing sugar to serve


Soak the gelatine leaves in a little cold water.

In a medium pan heat the cream alongside the vanilla pod and sugar. Bring to the boil and whisk for a minute before removing from the heat. Strain to remove the vanilla pod. Squeeze any excess water of the gelatine leaves then stir into the hot cream until dissolved.

Pour the mixture into serving glasses then place in the fridge for at least 2 hours. In the meantime prep the decoration.

Peel the apple. Use a small melon baller to form spheres of the apple. You should get around 12-15.

In a small saucepan bring the sugar and water to the boil. Add the apple spheres and boil for 2-3 minutes or until the liquid become syrupy and starts to turn a light golden colour. Drain and set aside.

Once the panna cottas have set you are ready to assemble. Place a few apple pieces on top of each pudding. Roughly chop the biscuits then sprinkle over the top. Cut the hazelnuts in half then sprinkle on top too.

Store in the fridge until required. Dust each panna cotta with a little icing sugar just before serving. Will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Kitchen Cupboard Essentials....

Desert Island Dishes is a must for foodies and podcast lovers. Chef and cookery writer Margie Nomura interviews some of the country’s leading chefs and food writers from Simon Rimmer to the Hairy Bikers about their life with food. Once you’ve listened to one episode you will want to keep on listening to more.

If you’re looking for gifts that are a little more unique and not readily available on the high street then visit The Sourcery, a lifestyle store in Quarriers Village, selling a range of beautiful clothing, artisan homewares and organic wellbeing products. Our favourite find has to be this beautiful collection of kitchenware from fairtrade and ethically produced brand Dassie Artisan.

For a decadent and delicious way to round up the week check out Mare Bakes, a home bakery in Glasgow producing luxurious brownies run by Lois McCredie, a veterinary nurse by day and baker by night. The concept is simple. Each week Lois creates a different flavour. If it tickles your fancy you can order a box which will be delivered on the Friday, the perfect start to the weekend!