The Dalton family has been dairy farming for 22 years. But it was their moo-ve into homemade dairy ice cream that got people’s taste buds tingling.
In 2016, daughter Rosie graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a marketing degree and was the driving force for starting up the ice cream business.
Now, just over two years later, Dalton’s Dairy Ice Cream have been awarded their second national ‘Great Taste’ award title – a massive achievement, even if it involved a high-speed train dash to London with melting ice cream in a suitcase!
The farm is run by the family, and Rosie Dalton told Staffs Live all about their ice cream empire.
“It’s my dad, mum, brother, his fiancée and myself. We all have our own areas that we run so that we all have our own work and don’t tread on each other’s toes,” she said.
The Ice Cream
After completing a lot of research a final decision was made that the dairy would focus on creating a high end, luxury ice cream range from the family’s herd.
All the ice cream is hand made and produced in small batches by Rosie herself on the farm premises.
Rosie added: “We produce around 400 litres of ice cream a week during the Summer and 200 litres a week during the Winter.
“This is because we block calf during the winter, but not many people are looking for ice cream in the cold weather, so it works out quite well.
“During our first year I went down to London with our vanilla ice cream to enter it into the ‘Great Taste’ awards. I literally travelled to London on the fast train with a suitcase full of dry ice and the ice cream.
“I was so stunned when we won the national title for our Vanilla ice cream. I just hadn’t realised what a big deal winning was, or that we even would win.”
Rosie entered their Wild Strawberries and Cream flavoured ice cream into the ‘Great Taste’ awards 2018 and won another national title for Dalton’s ice cream.
“We have a suggestion page for new flavours on our website, we get a lot of ideas, but some definitely stand out more than others,” she said. “We received one not long ago for Lavender and Honey and I can’t wait to try it out.”
The Honesty Shop
Shawcroft Farm isn’t just where the Dalton’s live and farm. When their homemade luxury ice cream proved so popular during its first year, they set up an on-site Honesty Shop.
“Having the Honesty Shop cuts down on staffing costs and means customers can come and get ice cream any time they want,” Rosie said.
“Some people think it’s crazy that we leave our product out and trust people to pay for it, but we’ve never had any loss through the shop. That’s the great thing about the community that we live in.”
The Honesty Shop doesn’t just stock the Dalton’s ice cream. It also has local produce from Shawcroft Farm and others surrounding it, including: sorbet’s, eggs, cheese, honey, chutney and yoghurt.
The Dalton family first started farming on a 42-acre farm in Welshpool, in 1996. After six years the family moved to Wootton on the border of Staffordshire and Derbyshire. Here they had a bigger farm to grow their dairy herd.
On the farm there is a mix of Holstein Cross and Brown Swiss cows and they are all milked once a day. This is to make sure that all the cows are happy and healthy to create that great tasting luxury ice cream.
Rosie explained: “All our cows are individuals and they have they have their own names. We have a lot of cows, but we make sure they’re happy free-range cows. We don’t factory farm.”
Rosie is hoping to have her ice cream make its way to the supermarket shelves.
Dalton’s Dairy Ice Cream is currently being stocked in 90 UK suppliers which mainly consist of farm shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs.
“I’m hoping to get the ice cream into our local Waitrose,” she explained. “My only concern is that our current customers won’t want to stock us if we’re in the bigger supermarkets.
“We’re definitely not looking to make the farm into an attraction. We are on a tenancy farm so if we ever have to move we can still sell the ice cream, wherever we are, if we keep it to wholesale.”
The future is looking bright and busy for Dalton’s Dairy Ice Cream and hopefully more award titles will be in their future.
“We have submitted an entry to the Cream Awards in Leeds and are waiting for the results,” she said. “Hopefully we do well, and business continues to be positive for us.”