In the first of an occasional series of interviews with our valued local suppliers, Debbie Young chats to Marshfield Farm’s Marketing Executive, Becky Lawrence. Read on to find out more about Marshfield Farm’s impressive track record, their fabulous range of flavours, Scoop the farm dog, and much more!
HISTORY & HERITAGE
Debbie: Marshfield Farm Ice Cream is a household name around here, but can you please tell us a little about its history and heritage?
Becky: Here at Marshfield Farm Ice Cream, we’ve been making award-winning real dairy ice cream on our family farm for over 30 years. Fresh farm milk from our herd of 250 cows travels just meters from the milking parlour to our on-site ice creamery every day. Because of this, we can be ‘from Cow to Cone in 24 hours’!
Becky: While our story has grown over the last 30 years, we are proud that our dairy farming heritage remains strong; this means farming and animal welfare remain at the heart of Marshfield Farm Ice Cream. We only ever use our cow’s milk in our ice cream, this accounts for over 50% of the final product! Our entire range is suitable for vegetarians, is free from artificial flavourings and colours and made of our flavours are gluten free too.
Debbie: Can you tell us any little-known facts about Marshfield Farm Ice Cream that might entertain our readers?
Becky: All of our products are free from artificial flavourings and colours, meaning the whole family can enjoy our scoops. Because of this, we colour our products with natural colourings to achieve the vibrant colours everyone knows and loves. To do this, we use some unexpected ingredients … For example, Funky Banana is coloured with turmeric powder, beetroot juice goes into our Succulent Strawberry and our Mint Choc Chip uses Chlorophyll (an extract from plants!)
AWARD-WINNING ICE CREAM
Debbie: I’d love to know more about the many awards you have won – all well deserved!
Becky: Over the years we’re incredibly proud to have won many awards across our flavour family. Special recognition has to go to our Blackcurrants in Clotted Cream. This flavour was awarded three gold stars in the prestigious Great Taste Awards and it was also deemed the Best Ice Cream in the whole of the South West in the 2013 Taste of the West Awards. In 2015, it also won the Dairy category in the Great British Food magazine Farm Produce Awards!
More recently, 2020 has bought us four new awards from the prestigious Taste of the West Awards. Our 2020 award-winning flavours are: Cookie Dough Ice Cream, Mint Choc Chip Ice Cream, Very Cherry Ice Cream and our new Plant Based Salted Caramel Ice Cream!
WORKING WITH HAWKESBURY STORES
Debbie: How many years has Marshfield been supplying Hawkesbury Stores?
Becky: We are proud to be stocked in Hawkesbury Stores since 2016!
Debbie: What percentage of your business comes from village shops like ours rather than from supermarkets?
Becky: Here on the farm, we’re proud to supply many local independent shops. Our values in supporting local businesses mean you won’t find our tubs in national supermarkets.
Debbie: Why do you like dealing with Hawkesbury Stores?
Becky: We believe Hawkesbury Stores is a true champion for local produce. Kind, caring and considerate, we love that the store is at the heart of the village and their impact on local life has formed a community. More so than ever we believe this is a core value in everyday life.
Debbie: As well as being a local producer of high quality food, you are also a significant local employer, and at least one of your employees comes from Hawkesbury Upton! How many people do you currently employ?
Becky: We have around 30 people working across the entirety of the business. You’ll find our farmers and herdsmen tending to the farm fields and cows seven days a week, while in the factory our production team are busy mixing the delicious ice cream flavours. We also have Technical, Warehouse, Admin, and Marketing Teams based in the farm offices, as well as 8 Sales Managers on the road, enabling our product to be sold across the UK.
COPING WITH COVID
Debbie: How has Covid-19 affected your business?
Becky: One by one our favourite and most loved theatres, cinemas, restaurants, cafes, ice cream parlours, parks and visitor attractions were forced to stop trading in line with the government restrictions to help control the spread of the virus. After the initial shock we picked ourselves back up and listened carefully to our customer demands. With so many families forced into self-isolation we needed to turned our focus to supporting our local community. We responded by bringing our retail tubs #FromFieldtoFrontDoor with the introduction of ice cream home deliveries (loving referred to as Deliver Moo).
If you would like to see how this has impacted our business long term, please see our LinkedIn article here: https://www.linkedin.
FLAVOURS OF MARSHFIELD ICE CREAM
Debbie: On a cheerier note, let’s talk about flavours! What is your best-selling flavour overall – and which is Hawkesbury Stores’ bestseller?
Becky: Vanilla Clotted Cream was the first flavour made on the farm over 30 years ago and to this day it still tops our sales charts! Perfect alongside a warming dessert or served on its own, this classic luxury flavour continues to melt hearts.
Debbie: How do you decide which new flavours to produce, and what are your future plans for product variants?
Becky: Having such a large variety of customers enables us to hear lots of feedback! Many of our favourite flavours have been suggested by our customers and we love that we can experiment with so many flavours, textures and colours. We follow foodie trends and are always experimenting with the next new flavour. High on our agenda for 2021 is to increase our range of Plant Based flavours – our new line of ice cream that is made without milk.
Debbie: Out of curiosity, are there any flavours that you’ve tried that turned out to be a bad idea and if so why?
Becky: Cinnamon and Apple, Chocolate Orange and Cheeky Cherry Chocolate have all been and gone from our flavour list. Blueberry Bliss FroYo merged the ice cream and frozen yoghurt world, but as it turns out, our ice cream is good enough on its own!
Debbie: Your ice cream for dogs is a great hit here in Hawkesbury Stores! What’s the story behind it?
Becky: Scoop is our family farm dog who is always at our side. Because of this, we thought it was about time she had an ice cream too! Our Scoop’s Vanilla Ice Cream is made with reduced lactose levels and added dog food supplement, it’s a treat to get tails wagging! You can find Scoop and all her furry fans on Instagram: www.instagram.com/
Debbie: Thank you so much, Becky, for this fascinating insight into the story behind our favourite local ice cream. I’m off to Hawkesbury Stores to stock up my freezer!