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

Friday, 28 November 2008

Talks and Waffle

This week has been a fairly interesting one for the dying embers of November, as previously noted we had snow, a good 6 inches of the fluffy stuff AND we had customers, braving ice roads and snow drifts just to fulfill the craving for ice cream! Wonderful!

Last night saw me speaking in front of a group of farmers as part of the Fresh Start initiative. The meeting was held at Bishop Burton College and l was the third speaker of the evening. Up to date, all the talks l have given have been fairly informal, usually at food shows, the WI or local young farmers clubs, format being rather jolly with some bits of waffle followed by samples. 'Do you do PowerPoint' the organizer asked, 'er no but l can,' was my reply. So last night there l was clutching my memory stick containing all sorts of file back ups plus my slide show! People who know me are aware that l do enjoy a bit of a giggle, so my presentation was set up to keep the audience entertained, well that at least was the theory.

The previous speaker, Philip Halhead from Norbreck Genetics was pretty good, covering many aspects of marketing that l had hoped to include in my spiel. It was really interesting to see another farm branding and marketing their product in a similar way to ourselves, despite the fact that the goods were poles apart, so to speak! Things like brand, price, customer service, using the media were all flagged up by the speaker.

I was last to take the floor, only woman in front of a bunch of about 50 farmers, which included our bank manager, [it was he who had invited me to speak incidentally]. My plan of attack had been to briefly discuss how and why we had turned the core business from dairy farming to ice cream manufacture and to make sure that no one fell asleep during my 15 minutes of fame, had mr moo in person shooting onto the screen from all directions as each slide made its entry. It certainly made the audience laugh, where was the little bugger coming from next, and boy did they remember our product!

Enthusiasm and brand image - l think l put that across?

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Snowy Saturday

Whilst shoppers head to the towns and cities in search of the 20% off major brands, us lot here on the east of England have snow. Swirling snow storms. Large dark clouds bringing substantial qualities of the white stuff obliterating the view from here across the bay to Flamborough Head. Dramatic of what?

It is pretty damn amazing considering the weather that people are out and about. Staff levels have been what you could call minimal, but despite the slippery roads, we have had the car park half full of cars and 4WD as people come out for an ice cream, lunch, hot chocolate [with of course marshmallows AND cream], followed by a very bracing walk down to an incredibly rough sea with their dogs. Yeap, the sea sure is rough, large rollers coming in off the North Sea, the tide is up and thanks to the wave action the mud cliffs are crumbling and being washed away!

I often wonder if eating ice cream in the cold weather is akin to eating a real hot curry in the heat. Do you feel less cold with something chilly in your tum?

We have a couple of new flavours being tested on our customers, chilli and chocolate, plum and cinnamon, Christmas pudding and a new batch of walnut and fig [as seen in the last issue of Yorkshire Life]. Feedback so far has been pretty good, especially the chilli & chocolate! Tubs of ice cream are starting top fly out now in readiness for Christmas, the alcoholic ones seem to flavour of the month so far, best seller being drunken cherry [amarena cherry with a generous helping of kirsch].

I often recieve emails from people asking where they can buy mr moo's from, well, if you live in South Yorkshire you could well be in luck as Tesco stock a selection of 4 flavours in 500ml tubs, whilst Asda in yellow belly land,south of the Humber stock a similar range. I hasten to add that both supermarkets market our product under the Local Producers label. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008


November is my least favourite month, short days, darkness, wind and rain, brrrr. Here on the coast it is a time of bracing walks, well wrapped up in scarf, hat and gloves and of course not forgetting the 'only' footwear for the winter, the good old wellington boot, either the flowery variety, the mega expensive Dubarry model or the good old black gumboot for those who wish to make a statement.

The Ice cream Parlour has now returned to winter opening hours, we are closed on Mondays & Tuesdays, open from 11 till 4 from Wednesday through to Friday then open 10 till 5 during the weekend. We find that during the winter months, visitor numbers drop off along the coast, with people heading to the shopping malls were it feels like summer every day! Saying that, we do pick up trade from weekend visitors staying in one of the many holiday cottages in this part of the world. Being less busy now, we have said goodbye, for the time being, to our seasonal staff, TF/KT flew back out to Calgary and the Rockies two weeks ago, in readiness for the coming snowboard season in Nakiski, snow l hear is already falling and Hz is hoping to fly out sometime in the new year. Should be fun.

This winter l have been 'volunteered' for a new post, Advisory Committee member for Brandesburton Young Farmers Club, and l can safely say l have been suitably impressed by the new club officers. As l type, they are busy organizing this season's dinner dance which is to be held in January, a change of venue, moving from Far Grange Park to the newly refurbished Bridlington Spa and, which is truly awesome, causing a bit of excitement amongst the ' old farmer' network!

It seems funny really to be involved in Young Farmers again as l used to be a pretty keen member xyz years ago, holding club posts in both Corse & Tewkesbury clubs. Our drama efforts were pretty dire l seem to recall, but always a real laugh. One year the criteria was 'Variety Show' and us girls did a pretty lousy impression of Pan's People to a Cliff Richard song - we did get a mention from the judge and we were adequately covered in all the right places! Such fun......
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