ARAN will be an artisan bakery situated in Dunkeld, Highland Perthshire. Based in a derelict 200-year-old building in the heart of the community our aim is to breathe new life into one of the most prominent shops on the high street. Throughout the years it has been everything from a lemonade factory to a dentist to a newsagent. Now, in its stripped back form we plan to add another use to its long list of services.
ARAN will be more than just a bakery however. We will not only have our doors open to the general public, but also to those in the local area looking for high quality wholesale produce, particularly our breads, cakes and preserves. By working closely with the surrounding businesses and enterprises, we aim to encourage and help tourism in what is a pretty spectacular area of Scotland. Set up as an open plan kitchen, all of our processes will be on display, and customers will be able to watch our methods and techniques as they wait for their purchases or coffees. We also aim to offer regular artisan baking classes to the public as well as hosting seasonal supper clubs and taster evenings as our menu evolves. Alongside our classes we plan on taking ARAN to schools in order to teach the younger generation key techniques and healthy attitudes towards food - something we believe very strongly in, particularly in this day and age. Community is at the heart of our business plan.
All ingredients will be sourced as locally as possible and supporting small not-for-profit initiatives. Flour will come from Aberfeldy Mill, 15 miles away, eggs from a local farm two miles away, organic veg from community initiative The Field less than a mile away and fruits from Dunkeld Community Orchard just over the bridge.
After purchasing the property two days before Christmas 2016, we stripped it back to the stone walls and beams, exposing years and years of neglect. Sadly, after consulting both an architect and structural engineer the ceiling structure supporting the first floor was deemed unsafe and has to be replaced completely. This involves stripping out all the main beams and joists and replacing them with stronger and thicker timber and steel versions. This was an unexpected addition to the already vast work load required. We have also consulted with a conservation officer to confirm we are doing the best possible work for the building.
It is deeply important to us to maintain as many of the historical features in the building, not only because it is listed but also because it has many stories to tell. When clearing out the shop we discovered a fourth window, glass still in the frame. To our knowledge it has been covered up for at least 60 years. We also discovered a small iron range dating back to the early 1800s, again having been covered up for decades. Both of these features will be fully repaired and exposed for all to see. We hope our love and care will breathe new life into what was once a key part of the town.
The money raised through Crowdfunder will be spent solely on repairing the ceiling, reinstating the original windows and exposing the lovely wee range. Anything raised above and beyond our target will be spent on providing regular and free artisan baking lesson for schools and older members of the community.
Our ultimate aim is to restore and conserve No. 2 Atholl Street so that it can continue to serve the public for the next 200 years.
Find ARAN Bakery on twitter @aranbakery and instagram @aranbakery.
Flora Shedden is a food writer and home cook. She is also the youngest ever semi finalist of the Great British Bake Off. She appeared on the BBC series in 2015 and since then has gone on to write a weekly baking column in a national paper, develop recipes for multiple magazines and newspapers and publish her debut cookbook, GATHERINGS, which focuses on cooking for friends and family throughout the day. After receiving so much support from her local town and beyond, ARAN bakery is being set up as a way of giving something back to the community that helped her constantly. Find Flora on instagram @sheddenflora, twitter @florashedden and Facebook as Flora Shedden.