Shetland Lamb Burgers


Scott Preston loves his food.

Originally hailing from Lancaster, Scott has worn several hats over the years: insurance claims handler, NHS administrator and funeral director, to name a few.

For the last three years he's worn the hat of "village shop guardian". Scott firmly believes that whomever looks after a rural community shop is only the guardian of said shop. The community decide how successful the shop will be and without this community, there is no shop.

In 2011 Scott and his wife Phoebe were fed up of working for other people. They wanted freedom, somewhere different from city life. They were looking for some place to go.

A pop-up appeared one day while they were browsing the internet: "Have you ever considered a business in Shetland?" it flashed. Out of curiosity they clicked, and they haven't looked back.

This advertisement was looking for new shop owners for the rural village shop Tagon Stores, in Voe. Located alongside the busy main road leading from Shetland north to Lerwick and the south, this shop is frequented by both the villagers in Voe for their daily shop, and commuters needing fuel, lunch and groceries. In operation for over 75 years, they are one of the most northerly independent retailers in the UK.

In October 2011 Scott and Phoebe visited Shetland for the first time with the purposes of viewing the shop. They stayed at the Valley B&B in Tingwall (Pat, the B&B owner, does a fantastic breakfast, Scott says!).

The more they read about Shetland over at Visit Shetland, the more they liked the sound of peaceful village life. They bought the shop and made the move to Shetland in January 2012.

In 2014 Tagon Stores was named a Top 100 UK Independent Retailer by the Independent Achievers Academy.

“Shetland has a lovely community. There is a sense of yes, we’re isolated and people sometimes forget about us, but that’s ok because we stick together.”“People really come together in times of need”, Scott boasts, “and everyone is so talented! So many people wear so many different hats!”

Scott and Phoebe take great pride in what they do. At first they had no staff, but now 13 local folk work for them. They only deal with small, local suppliers. Even the businesses they work with off the island are small producers and suppliers. Scott's passion for his native Lancaster shines through in the wealth of Lancashire produce available in the shop - I even had my first taste of the famous Lancashire Black Bomb cheese there recently!

It has been said that for every £1 spent in a local shop, 50-70p will be re-invested back into the community through wages, local cash & carry, suppliers, etc. For every £1 spent online or out of town only 5p goes back into the community. Scott and Phoebe are conscious of this, and do their best to support the community.

Scott and Phoebe have really enjoyed the three years they've been in Shetland taking care of the village shop, but due to family ill health they need to move back to the mainland. They're sorry to leave Shetland, but they are looking for new, passionate people to take over guardianship of the shop. Tagon Stores is now on the market, and if you are interested do give them a shout! You can find Tagon Stores online on their website, through Facebook.

Owning a shop in Shetland comes with its own unique challenges, especially during the winter months when deliveries may be delayed. We want to make sure whoever takes over has a passion for small communities and wants to see the shop thrive in the community.

As I mentioned earlier, Scott loves his food and he's shared his feta stuffed minted Shetland lamb burger recipe with us. The rosemary and garlic roast potatoes make a wicked side.

Ingredients pictured:
Minced lamb from Anderson Butchers Ltd.
Garlic and potatoes from Turriefield
White bread roll from Voe Bakery
Feta cheese and wooden cheese board from Tagon Stores
Tomatoes from Robinson & Morrison
Salad from the Aith Co-op

Feta Stuffed Minted Shetland Lamb Burgers with Garlic & Rosemary Roast Potatoes

Course: Main

Servings: 4 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 90 minutes

For the Feta Stuffed Minted Shetland Lamb Burgers
  • Garlic - 4 cloves (reduce to 2 if you're not a garlic fan)
  • Salt - pinch
  • Fresh mint leaves - 1 large handful (finely chopped)
  • Freshly ground black pepper - 1/2 tsp
  • Feta cheese - 60-75 grams
  • Shetland lamb - 500 grams (minced)
  • Skibhoul or Voe Bakery white rolls - 4 (sliced)
  • Little gem lettuce - 1 (to serve, optional)
  • Tomatoes - 2 (to serve, optional)
For the Garlic and Rosemary Roast Potatoes
  • White potatoes - 1 kg (Maris Piper are good; ideally from a local croft)
  • Shetland butter - 2 tbsp
  • Olive oil - 2 tbsp
  • Garlic - 6 cloves (or more, if you prefer, unpeeled)
  • Rosemary - 2 tbsp (chopped roughly)
  1. For the burgers: Break up the garlic and chop roughly. Sprinkle the pinch of salt over the top of the garlic and rub in with the back of a knife. Keep doing so until the garlic has turned into a paste.
  2. In a big bowl gently mix the garlic paste, chopped mint, feta and the black pepper.
  3. Divide the lamb mince into four roughly equal portions. Make a small indentation in the middle of each portion and stuff with 1/4 of the filling. Pinch the burger closed around the filling then form into a burger shape. Repeat with the remaining lamb.
  4. Season each burger with some salt and pepper on both sides and then grill them, turning once. Total cooking time should be around 10 minutes.
  5. Serve on Skibhoul or Voe Bakery white rolls with freshly sliced tomato and little gem lettuce leaves.
  6. For the potatoes: Peel and chop the potatoes into chunks and put into a pan of cold water. Bring the pan to the boil and then turn the heat down and simmer for 5-8 minutes, until the potatoes are just turning soft.
  7. While the potatoes are simmering, put a roasting tin with the Shetland butter and olive oil into the oven a 200 C.
  8. Drain the potatoes and give them a really good shake in either a colander or even in the pan. The edges should look a bit fluffy.
  9. Put the potatoes into the roasting tin and roast for around 25 minutes.
  10. Add the unpeeled garlic and the chopped rosemary to the potatoes and roast for a further 40-50 minutes, or until the potatoes are really crunchy and golden brown.
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