We are Ruairidh Morrison and Melanie Brown. We returned to the northern hemisphere from New Zealand a few years ago to raise our young twins and start a new smokehouse business on the north coast of Ireland. Ruairidh had always had a notion in the back of his mind that he’d like to have a business smoking salmon—a lingering legacy from his time spent managing Salmon farms (one of which marketed its own smoked fish), in both Scotland and New Zealand. Now, the North Coast Smokehouse is a reality! (And both it and the twins are developing nicely.)
Ruairidh is originally from the Scottish Isle of Islay, one of the Inner Hebrides, visible from the Co. Antrim coast. Melanie is from Ballycastle where we have established the smokehouse and where we now live. We like to be creative—enjoying stone-carving, traditional boat building, and pottery. We are both musicians. We love the art involved in smoking food to the point where we think it is at its most delicious—an art learned in New Zealand where the tradition of smoking food is still very much alive.
We combine our creativity with some serious science and a desire for sustainable living. Ruairidh worked for many years in fish health, for New Zealand’s Animal Health Laboratories and then in the science team for Biosecurity New Zealand, and Melanie recently completed a Master of Laws in Environmental Law and Sustainable Development. Our aim is to combine our skills, knowledge and values to develop our business, and lives, along a sustainable, environmentally-friendly path.
The business began by producing hot-smoked salmon at markets, for customers to eat there and then. Almost everyone who tried it loved it! As market research, the approach worked very well and provided the confidence needed to proceed.