Ian Hume grew up on the Orkney isle of Westray (‘Paradise’ – according to himself!) and has always had both a great love of the sea and its harvest – and a passion for celebrating and retaining many of the traditional preserving methods and recipes of his childhood.
A career as a deep sea trawlerman was an obvious choice – where periods ashore between fishing trips in the waters of the North Sea, allowed time for indulging in his hobby of smoking fish and cheese.
Early products were created in a variety of ‘homemade’ smokers; including a converted dishwasher and redundant oven – the resulting goods then being gifted to, or bartered with family and friends. But in 2016, the decision was made to take the hobby to a wider market and assisted by wife Anthea – Humes was established.
By now using a commercial smoker and operating out of a small production area (the SmokeShack), located in the garden of the family home, Humes products began to appear in local shops and at the monthly Farmers Market.
With the product range and customer demand for Humes goods increasing, by the end of 2019 it became obvious that juggling a life at sea whilst keeping up with all things smoked was just not possible – so at the start of 2020, Ian left the fishing and came ashore to concentrate on growing the business. Then Covid-19 happened.
A rollercoaster year followed where Humes went from; planned increased attendance at events; to ceasing production altogether for a few months; to picking up some welcome local trade again over the summer; to gaining recognition in the 2020 Great Taste Awards with both a Two and Three star award – great excitement in their first year of entering the Awards; taking their first steps into the world of running an online shop; and ending the year being blessed by amazing support of customers near and far, showing their support for small producers.
2021 then started with a very unexpected bang when Humes Smoked Mackerel featured on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen Live to amazing reviews and resulted in significant interest and online sales.
Running a small business based in a remote location, especially at a time when opportunities to travel to events and meet new customers isn’t possible, is a challenge. However, we hope that through our website, blog, newsletter, social media posts and by being able to offer you a taste of our products, we can share a sense our unique location – and especially tasty smoked product range!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read about us. Why not come along for the trip!