Rebecca Mayhew tells us about her South Norfolk farm where Jersey cows are important members of the family
Who are you and what do you do?
Old Hall Farm is a small dairy and self service farm shop. We specialise in raw Jersey milk, cream, butter, milkshakes and milk fed pork, and keep our cows with their calves ‘at foot’.
Is it a family firm?
Yes! My husband, Stuart, is the third generation in his family to farm in Woodton, and our children are already involved, albeit on a small scale, at seven and nine.
Where are you based?
We are located on the main B1332 Norwich to Bungay road just south of Brooke. Just follow the signs for Raw Milk.
How did you get started?
Stuart has always farmed and I’m a chartered surveyor by trade, but have always loved the outdoor lifestyle that farming allows. We fell in love with Jersey cows in 2016 whilst visiting a friend’s farm in Scotland and whilst we originally bought a Jersey to fulfil the family requirements for milk (I’ve always wanted a house cow), we soon found that there was a huge demand for the milk and thus the idea for a farm shop was born! We have learned a lot since our first cow arrived, and have gone from milking one cow to milking 17 in 18 months.
Tell us about what you produce?
We sell milk, cream and butter from our gorgeous Jersey cows. All of these products are unpasteurised and unhomogenised and therefore give significant health benefits as well as tasting delicious. Any waste skimmed milk from the butter making process is fed to our pigs – the pork is then in turn sold out of our shop.
Where can we buy your products?
Our produce is available at our self service farm shop seven days a week, 365 days a year, and we’re open from 7am until 9pm. We also attend Beccles Farmers’ Market, Wyken Vineyard Farmers’ Market and other events such as Porkstock. If you can’t get to us, we do sell online too and offer a next day delivery service.
Any future plans?
Gosh yes! Since starting our dairy, the production of yoghurt, cheese and gelato have very much been on the agenda and we hope to expand into these areas later in 2018. We will, in time, have our own beef and lamb, and have just achieved planning consent for a farm shop extension (with butchery and delicatessen) and a 45 seat café. And we’ve just planted a vineyard too!
How green is your company?
We try and take a green approach to all that we do. Where we have to use plastics, they are all either recycled or recyclable. For the milk, we have glass bottles available daily, and for the meat our trays are compostable at home, or go in your recycling bin. When we extend to create a butchery and deli counter we hope not to have to use any plastic at all. For postal orders, we use recyclable cardboard boxes and recycled wool liners – no polystyrene to be found!
How has Norfolk Food and Drink been able to help you?
The Proudly Norfolk family welcomed us into its arms last year and the wealth of knowledge, contacts and friendship has been invaluable. It’s a very exciting time to be involved in the local food movement – consumers are becoming better educated and more conscious of where their food comes from and how it is produced.
Published in Feast issue 29 – September 2018