#FeedTheNation: Honesty box helps ice-cream business beat Covid

An honesty box has helped a Welsh dairy farm’s organic ice-cream business to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

Chilly Cow ice cream set up the portable freezer and an honesty box at Stryt Fawr, Llanychan, near Ruthin, in the Vale of Clwyd – attracting as many as 150 customers a day at the farm gate.

Covid-19 wiped out the farm’s 33 summer events, from shows to weddings.

See also: Direct lamb sales from the farmgate help #FeedTheNation

Anna Taylor, who set up the organic ice cream diversification with her husband David with his parents, said the honesty box has been a “real godsend”.

It has meant that a planned expansion of the business, threatened by Covid-19, is back on the agenda with a 6m container bought from Denbigh-based Container Sales Centre providing 36cu m of space for new product packaging.

Anna Taylor with Lisa James holding ice cream containers

Farmgate sales are booming – Anna Taylor with Lisa James, of Container Sales Centre, which have supplied a new container to help the business expand © Rick Matthews

Open all hours

Mrs Taylor said: “We just thought we’d give the honesty box a go and it’s been amazing how it has taken off, with so many people on furlough and children off school, so families have been out and about.

“A small tub is just £2 and people just find a nice spot nearby to enjoy them and carry on with their walk or cycle ride.

“We never close, we’re always open and although the events were cancelled, we kept on supplying local shops, butchers and farm shops. Their demand also rose, because people wanted to support them, and I think they also felt they deserved a bit of a treat at this difficult time.

“The public have also been amazing in the way they have supported us, and now we’re getting busy again with the wholesale side of the business as shops and restaurants reopen.”

The new container has also helped Chilly Cow gear up for growth, providing a new space for storage of their redesigned packaging instead of the cramped spare bedroom that also doubled up as Mrs Taylor’s office.

Chilly Cow employs two people full-time and both were furloughed at the height of the pandemic. But they have now returned to work and business is picking up again.

Brown Swiss cows

The farm’s herd of 90 Brown Swiss cows provide the organic milk with a very high dairy fat content, which is ideal for making an extra creamy ice cream in more than 20 flavours.

Only 3% of Stryt Fawr’s milk goes to Chilly Cow – most of the rest is bought by fast food giant McDonald’s for their children’s range of Happy Meals.

The ice cream has also proved a useful way for parents to get their children out of the house, according to Mr Taylor: “Sometimes you’re here in the farmyard and you can hear the kids saying, ‘Are we there yet’ and lots of mums and dads have said the promise of an ice cream has literally got their kids on their bikes.”

#FeedtheNation

Farmers Weekly is getting behind the #FeedtheNation campaign to back UK farmers working flat out to produce safe, affordable and reliable food to feed the nation this harvest.

With our partners, we are raising public awareness of this campaign by highlighting the actions farmers are taking to get food to consumers.

Join in the campaign by sharing your stories with us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram using the hashtag #FeedtheNation or email us at philip.case@markallengroup.com or telephone 020 8652 4905.

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