Well known by many and immortalised by fishermen from the North of Scotland as Silver Darlings, Herring have been harvested from the North Atlantic for many decades, as in days gone by, herring boats would pack the harbours so much that you could walk from one pier to the other stepping from deck to deck-with no risk of getting your feet wet. Those days were numbered after the Second World War. They earned their own chapter in the history of the herring industry, which has inspired James to produce the many favourite herring cures with pride and heritage.
James is proud of his family heritage and links as his Great Grandfather in the 1920’s would follow these herring fishing boats around the coast of Scotland from as far as Orkney to the east coast port of Yarmouth in England, selling and managing the catches of these herring boats for many years. In those days as well as the fishing boats, Scotch fisher lassies would also have to follow “the shoals of herring” to make a simple living but a happy one, some living in huts working as “gutting quines”, rousing the herrings in salt before packing them into wooden barrels for export.
James Grandfather Jim, had successfully cured herring in wooden barrels in the early 70’s, exporting to Scandinavia but sadly for Jim, in the late 70s the herring production ceased due to the ban on herring fishing in Scotland at that time.
In the new World of today, James and his father Lewis thought hard when it came to a great opportunity in late 2016 to acquire the respected and well branded ‘Orkney Food Company’, previously named ‘The Orkney Herring Company’ to add to their seafood business interests. Producing original marinades that create the soft textured, delicately flavoured herring, which is now a closely guarded Paterson family recipe.
Herring are still caught from the same waters as those many years ago that were the life blood of Jim’s business but are now sustainably managed for the future. It’s all a traditional process, the recipe, now perfected by the forth generations of the Paterson family will remain a closely guarded secret to pass down to the next generation.
There is also Cured Rolls of Fine sliced Scottish Fresh Salmon in Honey, Mustard & Dill Sauce, and also another in Raspberry & Champagne among others seafood cures, this had been the reason and reflected in the change of name from ‘The Orkney Herring Company’ to ‘The Orkney Food Company’.
Herring will always stay the mainstay of the company, a tradition in our family for four generations.