Posts Tagged ‘organic ice cream’

Of Ice Cream In Dumfries and Galloway

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

My blog posts about Dumfries and Galloway would not be complete without talking about Cream O’Galloway, an ice cream producer between Gatehouse of Fleet and Kirkcudbright.  We seem to spend much of our family holiday centred around their farm at Rainton, where they have developed a tasteful and sustainable attraction around the Cream O’Galloway ice cream factory experience.

Cream O'Galloway Visitor Centre

Cream O'Galloway Visitor Centre

There are indoor wooden play areas for under 6s and older children, as well as outdoor climbing areas in the woods pitched at varying degrees of skill, athleticism, ranging from the simple to the hard work – I am no longer as agile as I once was so Level 4 is too much bending down, twisting and turning and scrabbling through tunnels for me; I actually do think it is easier for people below 4 foot in height as that’s the level of the holes and obstacles have been built for.  Then there are tracks for mountain biking past the wind turbine, zip wires, chutes, and a race track for go-carts, as well as nature trails and gentle ambles. 

Cream O’Galloway also have farm tours, pond dipping, ice cream making sessions (my third year in a row and this year we made vanilla, honeycomb and chocolate chip flavour ice cream) and ice cream tasting sessions as well as other nature tours later in the year when the tourists and holiday-makers become less evident.  In 2009, we bought a year’s pass and this year (2010) we got a week pass for the second week, which are both really good value and are worth it if you will be visiting more than about 4 and 2 times, respectively. 

Karting At Cream O'Galloway

Karting At Cream O'Galloway

The kids love it so we love it.  The tea could be better and after one week an alternative to burgers would be great, but we did discover the veggie burger this year which was a welcome break for meat, meat and meat.  My favourite burger is the double Mexican burger; most of their burgers I think are better as singles, but with the Mexican you can put a dollop of spicy guacamole, tomato salsa and soured cream in the middle, which is totally fabulous.  As I have already said, it is worth a trip out of your way to track down their organic, 21 day matured steaks that you can get in the cafe area before going into the main attraction.

Then, their ice cream is, also, worth a special detour to taste and savour.  Oh and everything is organic and some is also Fairtrade.

Cream O’Galloway is a really successful farmer’s diversification scheme.  The farm, Rainton Farm, is a dairy farm with a smallish herd of Ayrshire kine.  The farm went organic with the Soil Association many years ago and is at the forefront of ethical, organic dairy farming, so for example they are currently building a new milking parlour and anearobic digester, while they are the only commercial dairy herd that keeps the mother and calf together for the first 6+ months and milks the mother only once a day rather than twice a day.  The milk is delicious as it comes from a grass fed cows and an ocean air pasture, so the milk is the dairy equivalent of salt marsh lamb.  Most of the milk gets sold into one of the dairy groups, so finding its way into the major supermarkets, mixed in with other milks.

Rainton Farm Herd At Cream O'Galloway

Rainton Farm Herd At Cream O'Galloway

Dairy At Rainton For Cream O'Galloway

Dairy At Rainton For Cream O'Galloway

Some of the fresh, unpasteurised milk is taken every morning after the morning milking to the ice cream factory which is just in a small converted threshing barn.  In fact, it is remarkably small and compact, full of gleaming stainless steel machines and vats; the milk is pasteurised before it goes into the vats and ice cream machines as part of the manufacturing process.

The ice cream is tasty and there is a great range of flavours, with all of it using their organic milk (but not all certified as organic) and some of it Fairtrade as well.  Our family’s favourite flavours are:

You can get quite a lot of their flavours in some of the supermarkets in Scotland, such as Morrisons and Tesco and then loads of independent stores – use their stockist finder to locate your nearest one.

We still rank the Cream O’Galloway centre in our family top ice cream parlours as in an earlier blog.

Great British Ice Cream Parlours

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

One of the great changes caused by the decline of agriculture in the UK has been farmer diversification, and one of the wonderful changes made by dairy farmers has been home-made ice cream.  Some of these are real gems.

Yesterday, my daughter and I visited one on the Military Road outside of Corbridge in Northumberland, while my son was watching football on the TV.  I enjoyed a Blueberry and Lime Ice Cream while she had a mix of Mint Choc Chip and Caramel Toffee Fudge, both of these were in cones.  We took back a Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream for her brother.  I loved the clean taste of the Bluberry and Lime, while the Caramel Toffee Fudge was to die for.

The ice cream parlour is called Vallum Farm – see www.vallumfarm.com and you can enjoy tea and cakes there as well, and shop at Bywell Fish & Game as well as for some other kit.  It’s run by the Moffitt family and the milk comes from the well-known Hunday herd (at least well known in Northumberland) and now includes Brown Swiss Cows.  I remember the farm from when I was a kid as I studied it at school when Peter’s dad ran the herd, while I trialled working as a vet when Vallum Farm was involved in cattle semen – quite a change to ice cream parlour!

It made my daughter and I decide on our favourite rural ice cream parlours, which is obviously completely biased as they have to be places we’ve visited.  Our short list is as follows:

  1. Cream O’Galloway – organic and delicious ice cream, including tours and make your own ice cream, plus nature walks, wildlife activities and an indoor and outdoor play area.  This tops our list and is perfect for families and it’s well worth travelling all the way to beautiful unspoilt Dumfries and Galloway just for this – http://www.creamogalloway.co.uk/
  2. Vallum Farm
  3. Mr Moo’s – this is in Yorkshire on the coast at Skipsea and near Bridlington.  They have a great range of ice creams and the food is delicious, plus there’s an interesting walk to the Yorkshire beaches past World War 1 and World War 2 machine gun outposts and a nuclear war bunker.  Good hearty Yorkshire ice cream.  See http://www.mrmoos.co.uk/

We’d love to hear of where else we should be going to taste some great ice cream, but we’re not interested in anything really commercial or that you can get in the high street retailers.