Dales dairy farm diversifies into ice cream production

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FARMERS Fiona and Gary Robinson, who along with Gary’s parents and brother farm in Eldroth, have added another dimension to their dairy farm and have started producing their own ice cream using their farm’s milk.

“We wanted to add another income stream to the farm, whilst making the most of the high quality milk we produce,” said Fiona. “With continued pressure on prices, the choice for local dairy farmers seems to be expand or diversify.”

The dairy herd is all home-bred and grazed outside during the summer. She added: “As with most farmers, we are proud of our milk. The ice cream is an opportunity to capitalise on, and promote these things, whilst also creating a fabulous food product.”

The ice cream project has been developing over the last few years with Fiona and Gary researching recipes, attending ice-cream courses and, obviously, trying quite a lot of ice cream. In 2019, things took a big leap forward when they built a dedicated, ice-cream production room on the farm. With guidance from Craven District Council, they were able to get official dairy status, and Bouncing Cows Ice Cream was born. Fresh milk is now collected straight from the cows, pasteurised, and used to create a traditional ice-cream with only natural ingredients. Real strawberries, vanilla pods, and even gooseberry and mint grown on the farm, make up some of the flavours. Whilst setting up their own ice cream business would normally have been challenging, getting started during a global pandemic makes it even more difficult. A conversation with Andy and Kathy Swinscoe at The Courtyard Dairy, near Austwick set things rolling in a new direction. Unable to open the normally busy café, the Swinscoes hit upon the idea of using contactless vending machines to supply customers with cheese and coffee adding a frozen vending machine perfect for ice cream.

Bouncing Cows Ice Cream is now available from several local businesses, including Cross Leigh Stores in Austwick, The Courtyard Dairy and the Dalesbridge Camping Centre.

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