Follow the fortunes of Muddyboots & Family on their East Yorkshire farm which has changed from dairy farm to luxury ice cream manufacture

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

10 years on

So we have been making ice cream here at Mr Moo's in Skipsea for 10 years.  Ten years, where has the time gone?  What an exciting trip from dairy farming to ice cream manufacture.  Wow.

So where are we now, OK you'll say 'mr moo's in skipsea' but l mean how far have we traveled from first opening our our gates in May 2003 to now, this minute, 2013.

We have gone from ice cream parlour serving our own made-on-the-farm to visitors to now supplying most of the Yorkshire coast from Spurn Point to Saltburn together with inland Yorkshire ranging along the M1 / A1 corridor.  Our customer base now includes supermarkets, stately homes, theatres, farm shops & various tourist attractions.

We have met a wonderful bunch of young people who have worked for us over the summer holidays.  We have made lots of new friends who have taken a delight in supporting us by choosing  our brand!

So, in, what is turning out to be a busy year for us, we will be holding a 'bit of a do', here, on 4th August 2013 from 1pm.  Its a way of saying thank you to all our customers & to celebrate our first 10 years.  So, what will we be doing then? Well, we will be hosting some of local food producer friends, there will be a hog roast, then we have morris dancers, arena game, tug of war, coconut shy, birds of prey, kids fancy dress & a fun dog show.  For full details visit our Facebook page .  
So after no blog for some time, here's a big thank you to Fran & her moo crew past & present, Harry & Jenny the ice cream creators & not forgetting Rose & her sales team! Without you lot we couldn't have done it. 

Friday, 11 March 2011

gale force winds along the coast

As the snowdrops are slowly replaced by early daffodils, so it is that weekly ice cream production kicks into action.  Over the winter months we played with several new flavour ideas, testing the results on all too eager customers as they braved snow and howling gales to come for their weekly 'ice cream fix'!  Ideas for flavours came to us from our Facebook & Twitter pages.  Flavours ranging from chocolatey to nutty to chewy.  Narrowing the suggestions down to 'hm, thats sounds good', we began test mixes of things like white choccy & raspberry, chocolate n orange & honeycombe toffee [we are still experementing with 'soft' or 'crisp'].

When not playing with flavours, we were making contact with new customers and getting a little carried away with our graphics, mr moo seemed to be enjoying learning how to play rugby league & diving!  So, if you are attending a rugby match or pop  concert at KC Stadium in Hull, you can top up you ice cream cravings with a pot of Mr Moo's, available from the snack counter or why not stop & but one from one of the vendors walking the terraces?

Mr Moo, did rather well with his learning to dive lessons, managing to be one of the first bovines to manage a snorkle and eat ice cream beneath the waves at the same time.  Yes, you can find him in the cafe at The Deep and in the much aclaimed restaurant, eat your pudding whilst being watched by sharks & rays.

It is amazing just how busy Mr Moo has in fact been, Monk Park Farm has now a wonderful colourful counter and even on a chilly day in February chilldren were waiting in great anticipation for their teddy cones topped by a scoop of mr moo's ice cream! 

All go then for the team here at Mr Moo's, it is really great to meet with potential new customers and pass on our enthusiasm for proper dairy ice cream.  Towards the end of the month sees the announcement of the REYTA 2011 Awards at Bridlington Spa, so, fingers crossed, we may be in the running for an award this year, lets hope so! 

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Busy busy busy

Second week in February, wow, doesn't time fly when you're busy!  The past weeks have seen Team Moo busy with data bases, new customers, inventions of new flavours and trying to remember what day it is.

The Ice cream Parlour remained open during the winter months, closing only during the heaviest of snow & lowest of temperatures.   With an improvement of weather trade is building up week by week as weekend visitors and day trippers return to the coast.  The Traditional Yorkshire breakfasts have proved popular with us taking part in the Farmhouse Breakfast week at the end of January.   

The Caravan Club CL site bookings are coming along nicely, with Easter being fully booked.  This year the CL site is for adults only but, small people, do not worry as  the Rally Field has been  re-named the Family Field, a whole field to play and run about in.

The Moo Experimenters have been in action too, with new flavour suggestions being made by our Facebook & Twitter followers; so probables for 2011 include chocolate orange and white choccy chunk with a red berry, perhaps raspberry or strawberry, haven't decided yet.

Mini Moo & JD have just started their Advanced Apprenticeship work through East Riding College, so hopefully by the time they finish their course they will know everything about, well everything!

We have some good new outlets & customers for the coming year and are actively looking for a distributor in the South to supply Mr Moo's Real Dairy Ice Cream to a growing number of inquiries from Southern England.  Will be announcing new tourists attractions stocking Mr Moo's in the near future, we will also be doing a press release to coincide.

This is only a quick doodle as my brain is somewhat higgledy piggledy and my spelling and grammar are even worse than normal, perhaps because as l sit in the office blogging, answering the phone / emails whilst listening to Steve Wright in the Afternoon l am just not too good at multi-tasking [but don't tell anyone please]?  So as l close, please watch this space over the coming weeks to keep abreast of what is happening down here on the farm and if you have any suggestions for interesting flavours, please feel free to comment away!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Escape from the weather

Winter proper started here in East Yorkshire mid-November.  Frost followed by snow followed by yet more snow and ever lower temepratures.  Normally we try to get away for a holiday in January or February, before the season proper starts, this year I suggested, why not holiday before christmas? 

Where shall we go at such short notice, where do we actually fancy going to?  As many of you will know, we visited Kenya back in Februay 2010, stopping for once in what is termed a  proper hotel.  The ones that have piped musak absolutely everywhere, the ones that have buffets positively growning under the weight of vast amounts of frankly, booring food, you know the ones that have organised activities and have large perimiter walls & fences to keep the locals & wildlife out. So, after scrabbling around on Trip Advisor and researching flights out of Humberside our local airport, we decided to go to Kenya again, this time staying in tents and trying our hand at what can only be termed 'Glamping' at Gazi Beach Retreat.

We booked our flights independently with KLM from Humberside via Schiphol & then on direct to Mombasa the accommodation through  All pretty straight forward really.  We duly arrived at Moi International Airport, Mombasa obtained our visa, collected our bagage, cleared customs and then walked out in the bright sunlight and tropical heat, from -10C to 35C not much of a temperature shock really?  You know when you fly somewhere and then walk out through the arrivals door you see people holding up cards with names on? Yes, well there was no one there with our names on.  Yes, OK we were'nt so daft as not to book transfers.  Fortunately, we had contact phone numbers and began dialing, assisted by a very helpful young taxi driver called Simon.  The mobile phone signal kept cutting out.  It was Jamhuri Day, a BIG public holiday, everyone was partying.  Simon spoke to our contact who asked him to bring us to the resort.  So, off we went in a bright yellow taxi, roaring through mombasa at great speed, through the arched elephant tusks, over the Likoni Ferry, past the street parties, southward heading to Ukunda and then turned off to Diani.  Diani?

Turning south at the T junction at Diani, we drove past the high walls of the BIG hotels, where are we going?  Simon indicated left, pulling into the driveway of Galu Beach Retreat, security guard opened the barrier and in we drove.  Deadly silence.  We were met by beaming staff clutching trays bearing fruit punch for the weary and, to put it mildly, somewhat suprised travellers.  'You will be staying here', we were informed by the jovial Whitecliff, 'Doris is on her way'. as we were shown our room, and given a guided tour of the retreat.

We sat, sipping ice cold Tusker, looking out across the white coral sands and turquoise blue of the Indian Ocean.  We paid the Simon and moved in!  One look at that view was all it took.  Superb, awesome, fabulous.  So this was where we ended up, not really sure why we were here, but we didn't mind at all, in fact Farmer said he prefered this site much to the relief of our new best friend Doris, was somewhat relieved to discover that we weren't bothered at all about the morning's potential disarster!

Galu Beach Retreat is owned  run by Destination Adventures Kenya whose other resorts include, Gazi, The Cove and Sable Valley Tree Houses.  All the resorts are pretty small, no more than 8 rooms each l think, hence us booking.   The meal plan is all inclusive, OK l hear you groaning, but this was AI with waiter service, choice of menu and you could eat either in the treehouse banda or ourside your room, we chose the former.  The place is so relaxing, no need to 'dress' for dinner or slap on the make up, this was my idea of heaven.  I would have gone barefoot all week if the pathways wern't so hot!

The rooms themselves were of a good size & for life's little luxuries there was air conditioning.  There was decent sized bathroom [though the original taps were a bit of a pain to use], proper fridge filled with soft drinks / Tusker plus the really nice touch of a water dispenser, nothing is worse than being somewhere hot and having to keep buying drinking water. The bed, traditional Lamu style, came complete with mozzie nets. The covered terrace with comfy day bed was a favourite lazing spot and wasn't it great to not have TV or internet access or crappy music wafting past the frangipani trees.

I tell you what, the staff were absolutely wonderful.  Helpful, polite and happy, they even tried to teach us some Swahilli!  Asanti sanna!  Being a bit of a foodie, what is brought to you on a plate is of some importance.  Here the choice of food was fresh, local and cooked to order, not wearing a timepiece for 10 days, the only way l knew what the approximate time was, was when Sieed brought the lunch or evening menu for us to choose from.  Oh, and it was so nice to have cocktails before dinner.  Cocktails whilst wearing flip flops how very funny!

 There were other facilites there, it had been an Holistic retreat before being taken over by the current owners, so there was a jacuzzi, some sort of fancy wooden yoga floor, star baths, [apparently you lie in a buble bath and look at the stars], mud bath and spa treatments.  I did let Phoebe have a go at my nails which she took one look at and then proceded to tell me off whiilst stressing the word 'nail file'!

Whilst stoping here at Galu, we did have one night up at Sable Valley inlcuded in our holiday.  These are two treehouses out in the bush en route to Shimba National Park.  The drive itself, once you left the tarmaced highway at Ukunda, are  along red dirt tracks and are really interesting.  Passing though small villages, seeing local people fetching and carrying large cans of water from bore holes or streams., the strength needed  to do this must be immense?  The houses were surrounded by vegetable gardens where they were growing maize, casava and other vegetables.

The tree house, well words fail me.  Ours was called ndovu in Swahilli, was heavenly, even the no door bathroom wasn't a problem.  We watched the sun sink behind the acacia trees, supped sparkling wine in the jacuzi, then tucked into our 3 course supper prepared by Sieed who came with us as chef.   Then as the bushbabies started to tune up & the geckos emerged from the grass roof, the large mosquito covered bed was rolled out onto the veranda for us to sleep in under the stars.  It was like being 6 again and camping out in the garden and this time there really were wild animals at the bottom of the garden!

The following day after breakfast, we set off to Shimba National Park and spent the morning spotting game with Moulai.  Propabley the best bit was watching the pygmy elephant in the undergrowth.  Yjere he was totally oblivious to the world, calmly stuffing his face full of greenery - and forgetting to chew, when all of a sudden a large agrigate lorry thundered past.  Up went his tail and he began thrashing through the undergrowth trumpeting away.  Poor beastie was terrifield!

Our last trip our was 45 minutes south to Gazi, where we took motorboat trip through the mangroves  followed by a guided walk along the  Women’s boardwalk  which was really intersting especially as you could plant mangrove seeds! 

The trip home back to Yorkshire went fine, we heard about the very low temperatures and airports being closed yet again so we were pretty lucky that our flights were unaffected.   We did however land in a snow storm at Humberside, there was 2 inches of snow on the runway!

Would we go again? In a word yes. This is a place to relax and totally switch off, with a ‘no news, no shoes’ feel.   Thank you Doris & your team for such a great holiday!!

The other thing is, my spell checker here on blogger does'nt seem to want to work, hence the mulitude of typos!  Sorry.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Update - Press Awards

So we went along, no l tell a lie, we sent Harry along [Farmer doesn't really like wearing black tie gear] with the promises of good food & a free night out.  As he left, he asked would he need to make a speech if we won? I casually assured him that he wouldn't, just shake hands, smile for the photographer then go and sit down.

I didn't hear Harry come in, but over a late breakfast shared with the previous evening's loot scattered across the kitchen table l was informed that a] the food was blurdey brilliant b] the tables were growning with bottles of plonk and c] he had to make a speech and no he couldn't remember what he said.  The award evening, Harry proceeded to inform us, were more MTV than School Prize giving.

So we are now proud holders of the York Press Family Business Award 2010.

PS: in the photo Harry is right in the middle of the shot stopping down behind a brunette [girlfriend] & blond who are in the front row.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Freezers, Awards & Gales

It's quiet nice really, the end of the season, a little more opportunity to have 'me' time, relax and generally catch up on things that get side lined during the Summer.  The ice cream parlour is now closed on Mondays & Tuesdays, whilst we operate reduced hours during the week, 11 - 4, but remain open as normal during the week end.  Don't get me wrong, we are still busy, wholesale orders still come in, farm shops & restaurants busy ordering seasonal & Christmas flavours, best of these seems to be the new winter flavour, damson & plum crumble with Christmas pudding coming in a very close second.

We have some new customers this autumn, with  Drewtons Farm Shop holding a very successful opening last weekend with Jenny providing samples of Mr Moo's Real Dairy Ice Cream to the shop's visitors.  It's really great to get direct customer feedback and with the new flavours going down an absolute treat!  Other major projects this year have seen the building of a new purpose built freezer room, this has made storage a much easier task with easy access to stock & reduced electricity bills!  We have also improved the visitor facilities for viewing the livestock.  Not content with the freezer room & barns we have also set up an anemometer care of Fastmast, to record wind speeds on the Hill Top field with a view to installing some sort of wind turbine.  So you see, nothing just stands still we are always busy with something!

On the farm, the sheep have arrived for winter grazing whilst the red polls heifers & Malcolm the Hereford are now inside for the winter.  The sheep today do look pretty miserable as the wind is at storm force and the sharp squally showers seem to resemble water coming out of a pressure washer.  The heavy seas at high tide have resulted in large chunks of the SSSI being washed away, ice age peat deposits stand no chance against the pounding waves of high tide.  The whole beach area looks as though a tsunami had struck, bolder clay, concrete WW2 defenses being strewn like balsa wood across the sand & clay.

Our seasonal staff have now finished with us until next year whilst Harry & Jenny are starting their Advanced Apprenticeships in food manufacture whilst the rest of us have updated our CIEH stage 3 food hygiene certificates.  Some of the photos on food hygiene were pretty gross, the worst being the man from japan who, after eating sushi for many years, had parasitic worms lodged in his brain...............

Well, there go, busy season, sales have gone well with our wholesale customers, we have had some good press coverage in several national publications, and on a whole the summer months have not been too bad.  Bookings are starting to come in for next year on the CL site, though we are now an adults only site, with Bank Holidays about fully booked.  Wish us luck for next Thursday as we are short listed for in the Family Business category in the York Press Business Awards.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Autumn vacation

Autumn came with a suddenness that we haven't seen for a while.  Past Septembers have been more Indian than an early launch into late wet autumnal weather.  Certainly up & down the east coast, the seasonal weather has been, well unseasonal to put it mildly, oh sorry about that!  I do really hope that winter in not going to be a repeat of last year's.  Snow & cold are fine if you are in the Alps & skiing but when you are having to work and rely on the public it is not so good.

 So then, lets get on with the blog.  As you may know, we have bought ourselves a motor home, couldn't afford the holiday cottage purchase on the North York Moors so plumped for a movable alternative. In previous Septembers we have flown south heading to the greenness of Corfu, this year we headed north, north to Scotland.  

I haven't really been to Scotland before despite having an ancestor marrying a Scottish lady, Miss C MacDonald, in the 1820s. Yer, wasn't too bad you know.  Yes it was very wet, the wind howled, the scenery when emerging from the mists was spectacular, the oysters from Kishorn were to die for, the tourist honey pots of tartan & shortcake were, well, not really my cup of tea.

I enjoyed the historic aspects, the harsh northern coast line, the painfully narrow roads that were blissfully empty, was that due to the weather?  Then there were the coach loads of Grannies............. Best bits? Thanks to rain, couldn't explore the Culloden battle field site, but l think the vast emptiness of the Western Highlands was pure tranquility. I really can do isolation, just me & the landscape.

We have been away since coming back, nipping down to Devon to have a look at some wind turbines cited on a dairy farm somewhere at the back end of beyond down a myriad of country lanes.  We have also, no Farmer, has some good ideas how to improve the CL site for motorhomes next year.  Amazing as to how many motorhomes we have had stop here during the summer, Haz thinks it is something to do with being over a certain age, elderly nomads?  

Half term is now almost upon us, Christmas seems to be coming at all local garden centers and  l have surcombed to the fist of the sniffles and sneezes, great.  We are already starting to think about next year, e have erected an anemometer to record wind speed, its standing in the Hill  Top field & already accepted by te local birds population who seem to see it as a rather good 'tree' on which to roost.  

The CL site is more or less closed for the winter, Caravans & motor homes can park at the end of the car park.  Next year we have made the decision to become an Adults Only site, a move widely supported by our regular visitors.  I guess it's just how things are moving forward now.  Footballs and sat dishes don't really go very well.

The dogs are scratching & howling at the back door, they aren't supposed to come into the house you see .  Gordon & Lucy-Piglet need to go and  chase more wildlife; they have been ratting this afternoon with Haz; L-P proved to be pretty good despite being a labrador, Gordon, well, not so good a bit like Anne Widdicombe on Strictly, tried hard but showed no real ability! 

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