There has been a long tradition in Scotland of family firms being
bought over and eventually either being closed down or run as branch
factories. Many firms which once were household names have simply
disappeared. But one family company which has resisted all take over
approaches and remained firmly Scottish based is Baxters of Fochabers.
Indeed the company has turned down so many take over bids that it could
be heading for an entry in the "Guinness Book of Records".
They are considering creating a new category to include Baxters record
number of refusals - 191 since 1946. Baxters, famous makers of soups,
sauces, pickles and preserves, are proud of their Fochaber roots and
loyal to their workforce. The firm was started in 1868, when George
Baxter, one of 50 gardeners at Gordon Castle in the village of Fochabers,
set up business with a £100 loan from his family. From the original
grocers shop, set up by George Baxter, the company now employs some 800
workers and uses local vegetable and fruit growers and has turned down
offers from multi-nationals such as Unilever, Heinz and McCain. As well
as becoming a Scottish success story, Baxters is also a popular tourist
attraction with some 230,000 making the trip to its visitor centre on
the banks of the River Spey each year. Long may Baxters uphold their
position as a leading independent Scottish company. Their motto speaks
for itself - "be different, be better" - and this has led them
to winning a world-wide reputation for excellence. Ena Baxter, wife of
company president Gordon Baxter, did much to enhance the reputation of
the company and especially its soup brand. So like Ena Baxter you can
make and enjoy the delights of Cock-a-Leekie soup.
Ingredients: 2 1/2 - 3 lb boiling fowl; 6 pt water; 2 medium onions,
finely chopped; Bay leaf, sprig of thyme and some parsley stalks; salt
and pepper; 1 1/4 lb leeks, finely chopped; 2 oz long grain rice.
Garnish with chopped parley.
Put the fowl into a large deep pot and add water. Bring slowly to the
boil then skim and reduce to a gentle simmer. Now add the herbs ( tied
together ), salt and pepper, onions, and the white part of the leeks.
Simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until the meat is tender. Half-an-hour
before the end of cooking add the rice. Remove the bird and leave to
cool slightly. Add the green of the leek and cook for another 10
minutes. When the bird is cool enough, remove some of the flesh and chop
up roughly. Return to the soup and heat through. Check seasoning, remove
herbs and serve garnished with parsley.