A Yummy Success Story - Cool Flavours Win Awards for Yorkshire Family's Ice Cream
Summer is here, and the coolest way to chill out in the sunshine is with the delicious and quirkily-flavoured ice cream made by a Yorkshire family.
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Yummy Yorkshire is a real success story of locally-sourced food going from strength to strength, winning an increasing number of awards for its ice cream and approach to business.
It’s the family business of Louise and Jeremy Holmes, who from their dairy farm in the Pennines have developed more than 50 exciting flavours using milk from their own herd of cows that are a hit with the public and sold by some of Yorkshire’s leading farm shops and eateries.
Forget bland ice creams that don’t taste of much. Yummy Yorkshire’s are mind-bogglingly inventive and unusual. They include Liquorice, Salted Caramel, Basil, Coconut and Mango, Black Garlic and Dark Chocolate, Beetroot, Honey and Ginger, and Dandelion and Burdock.
Louise and Jeremy gave their imagination free rein in creating three new flavours to mark the Tour de France’s visit to Yorkshire. Banana and Custard saluted the yellow jersey of the race leader, Yorkshire Brack and Jam – Brack being the famous Yorkshire tea loaf – was about the county’s heritage and Cassis was in tribute to the French blackcurrant liqueur.
And of course, alongside the unusual flavour combinations, Yummy Yorkshire brings its trademark excellence to traditional favourites, including award-winning vanilla and strawberry.
Louise and Jeremy are constantly on the lookout for new flavour ideas – with inspiration striking everywhere from the shelves of supermarkets to a perfume shop.
Among Yummy Yorkshire’s key outlets is Fodder, the award-winning farm shop and cafe at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate devoted to showcasing the very best of Yorkshire produce. It stocks a wide range of Yummy Yorkshire ice cream, and its support has been one of the most important factors in enabling Louise and Jeremy to achieve such success.
It was in 2007 that Louise and Jeremy found themselves with a surplus of cream from their herd at Delph House Farm, High Flatts, Denby Dale, near Huddersfield.
Louise said: “We were looking at how we could utilise that, and ice cream was the option we preferred. Jeremy went on an ice cream making course, which gave us an insight and helped make the right connections.
“We had some help at the start, but very quickly we designed our business in terms of our flavours.”
And just to prove that inspiration can strike in very unlikely circumstances, it was a terribly wet afternoon at the Pontefract Liquorice Festival that gave Louise and Jeremy the idea for what has become their signature flavour.
“Before we’d started making ice cream, we had been attending food festivals and doing milkshakes,” said Louise.
“We went to the Pontefract Liquorice Festival, and it was a really, really bad day and we’d bought an ingredient to make liquorice milkshakes with. The weather was so bad that all Jeremy wanted to do was get away.
“When we started making ice cream, I suggested we should have a go with the liquorice to be unique.
“We decided we’d go with it and that was the one that everyone noticed. Even today, it’s the one that everyone comments on. It’s a signature one for us, really.”
Being bold with new flavours has been key to Yummy Yorkshire’s success – as has partnering with other Yorkshire artisan food producers to source ingredients.
Louise said: “We’ve tried to be unique with what we do, and partner with a lot of other Yorkshire producers to make our flavours.
“We’re always looking for something new to produce and showcase other good artisan producers from this area.
“We rotate the flavours. Some will drop off and we’ll bring back some old favourites every so often, and we’re well known for creating new flavours. We do that with a lot of the food festivals we go to, we try to create a new flavour for that particular event. We always do that every year for the Huddersfield Food Festival.”
Ideas can come from anywhere, according to Louise. “A lot of the time, I’ll be shopping and gazing around at what other flavour combinations there are, and it’s not ice cream flavours, it could be chutneys, it could be cakes. I was in Jo Malone’s perfume shop the other day, and I picked up three new flavour combinations from there, so inspiration’s all around us.”
Hand-in-hand with developing the wide range of flavours has gone building up the business at the farm, where more than 35,000 litres of ice cream are made every year.
A year after launching Yummy Yorkshire, Louise and Jeremy opened an ice cream parlour on the farm. It quickly became such a success that it needed to expand, and in 2012 they doubled it in size with the help of funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Now, as customer numbers have continued to increase, Louise and Jeremy want to expand the parlour further. In addition to ice cream, the farm also does brunch and lunch featuring locally sourced ingredients including bacon and eggs, sausages, bread and beef.
It’s a mark of how successful Yummy Yorkshire is that awards have come thick and fast.
Louise was named the Network She Foundation Woman in Tourism of the Year 2014, and Yummy Yorkshire was named Small Business Sunday Winner by television’s Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Theo Paphitis.
Yummy Yorkshire’s Toffee and Cherry ice cream was named Best Dairy Product in the 2013/14 Deliciously Yorkshire Awards, and the farm’s ice cream parlour received a Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor for 2014.
And this year’s Great Yorkshire Show brought even more success, with Yummy Yorkshire taking first prize in both the vanilla and strawberry categories, as well as both first and third places in the newly-launched dairy product category for Yorkshire Brack and Jam and Carrot and Cardamom respectively.
A growing number of leading farm shops are stocking Yummy Yorkshire’s ice cream, which is also being served by some of the county’s best restaurants and gastropubs.
The support of Fodder has been important to the business, said Louise. “Fodder is a great flagship for Yorkshire producers. When they first opened, it was a competitive situation to go into there, and we lost out, but we made it our mission to get in.
“I think it’s a great showcase, and it’s on everybody’s list of where they want to be supplying.”
The future is looking bright for Yummy Yorkshire, which is set to grow further – and Louise and Jeremy’s life as working dairy farmers is central to it.
Delph House Farm’s herd of about 130 cows give the couple a successful wholesale milk business. It’s a real family farm for Louise and Jeremy and their children, Oliver and Charlotte, started by Jeremy’s grandfather in the 1960s.
“It’s the whole deal when people come here, farm smells and everything,” said Louise.
“We need to keep up with demand for growth on the ice cream side, but we’re also keeping our farm a big part of that.
“We want to expand our ice cream parlour, but expand it into the building where we produce our ice cream, so that becomes a visual part of the experience of coming here.”
When that happens, visitors will see two or three people making ice cream at any one time.
And Louise is always checking how Yummy Yorkshire compares to other ice creams. “I’m probably more interested in what other people are doing to see how it compares with ours. I can’t go to an ice cream parlour and just enjoy my ice cream, I have to dissect it.”
24 June 2014
Media Contact: Jane Thornber, General Manager, 01423 546271 or firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTES TO EDITORS
Yummy Yorkshire can be found at www.yummyyorkshire.co.uk
Fodder is at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate HG2 8NZ, telephone 01423 546111 and at www.fodder.co.uk
All profits from Fodder go to fund the work of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, the charity at the heart of the county’s rural life. In addition to staging the Great Yorkshire Show, the society has an extensive educational programme to help children understand where their food comes from and promotes countryside careers.