Scotland's only designated Food Town is Castle Douglas which has over 50 local businesses that sell top-quality locally produced food, confectionery and beers.
Located about 18 miles from Dumfries along the A75, the 18th-century market town is a thriving centre for prosperous local farming and the Stewartry Agricultural Show is an event that takes place nearby in August each year.
Nestling between the Galloway hills and forests to the north and the sweeping beaches of the Solway Firth to the south, this historic market town has always been at the heart of local agricultural and commercial life.
Livestock markets are still held every week, attracting discerning buyers and breeders from around the world, while the town’s unique mix of businesses attracts shoppers and visitors time and again.
The town is bucking the trend and continues to flourish. There is an array of food and drink shops as well as speciality shopping, with over 50 independent businesses offering a selection of locally produced food from the food hero Gillian Warden’s In House Chocolates, to the Toffee Shop and Glen Urr ice cream.
Michelle Robertson, Castle Douglas Food Town co-ordinator, said: “Castle Douglas is thriving. We have local butchers, numerous delicatessens, a whole food shop, fishmongers, about six cafes, great restaurants and as soon as a shop becomes free it is snapped up.
“We have so many independent shops and when Tesco announced it was coming to town the food town committee set up a lobbying group that didn’t allow them to have a deli and other things so we can support local businesses.
“We are not just a food town, we can offer visitors the unique shopping experience with all the gift shops, two antique shops, a haberdashery, ladies’ dress and shoe shops, chocolate and ice-cream shops.
“Most of our customers on a Saturday come down from Ayrshire and our streets are always heaving with people from Dumfries.
“We attract loads of tourists because we also have many tourist attractions on our doorstep.”
Source: The National