Saturday sees the formal launch of Born in the Borders, with a farmers’ market celebrating the best of local produce.
Local musicians will also be performing at Lanton Mill, near Denholm. The visitor centre includes brewery tours, a cafe/restaurant and food and gift shops, selling the best produce from across the border areas.
The development is the brainchild of John Henderson, who created the Scottish Borders Brewery and wanted to build on its “plough to pint” ethos.
“Our interest in local food and local products stemmed from the brewery, as we were telling a local food story through the beer, and that tied in with the local food revolution, with people wanting to know more about what they were eating and drinking,” said John.
“We started looking at the other buildings around the steading and couldn’t help but think that we could be doing something with them.
“There was a few crazy suggestions, but some people had mentioned making a brewery visitor centre, but it didn’t seem quite enough to get a viable return on doing all the work on the buildings.
“However, when we expanded the idea out to include other regional products it seemed more viable.”
With the search on for products to stock, John said he was bowled over by the quantity and quality of items available locally.
“We started looking at who the local suppliers could be and discovered all these extraordinary products. A lot are exported and are not really on the local radar, but many are world leaders and should be celebrated as such.”
John added: “Born in the Borders is about the producers from the border areas, and we are very happy to be a conduit for them and their stories and products.
“We would like people, particularly Borderers, to come here and be quietly satisfied about what other local people make, and maybe slightly amazed about something that they never knew about before.
“The producers have been very supportive and could see that the idea of Born in the Borders would work, and many have even suggested other producers for us to approach. The variety of products we have here is a great representation of the border area and the lifestyle of the people who live there.”
A wide-ranging events programme is also being created, with the target being to hold one big event a month and smaller events every couple of weeks.
And the design of the shop sections, which play host to products from more than 70 suppliers, will also change regularly.
John said: “The shop fittings are all on wheels, so it is almost more of a stage set and we are able to change it around easily.
“We want people to come back regularly and have a different experience and find different products.
“Our job is to maintain people’s interest, and we want the feeling for people to be that they don’t quite know what they are going to get when the come here, but it will be different, and the best the region produces.”
Businesses supporting the initiative range from international designer brands such as Lochcarron and Eribe Knitwear to local farms, butchers, bakeries, speciality producers, as well as home-based crafts people.
Items on sale include meats, fruit and vegetables, dairy products, confectionery, baked goods, speciality sauces, soft and alcoholic drinks, knitwear, clothing, stationery, ceramics, jewellery, toiletries, accessories, toys, books and gifts.
The special opening celebration on Saturday and Sunday (June 21 and 22) runs from 11am-3pm and features 20 farmers’ market stalls, apple juice-making demonstrations and performances by local musicians.
Born in the Borders is open seven days a week from 10am-5pm.