WE WON! We were delighted to have been nominated for the Cumbria Family Business Awards in the Agriculture and Forestry section and then to be finalists where we were interviewed by a judging panel. We were absolutely thrilled to have won last Friday night! It really means a lot to us to be recognised for our farming with rare and native British breeds and the ways we have diversified the business. We’ve been on cloud nine ever since. The awards ceremony was held at the beautiful Low Wood Bay hotel in Windermere and the hosts were The Hairy Bikers. The presenters of our award were Sue Howorth of Cumbria Family Business Awards and Family Business Network and Dave Clarkson Family Business Network . We must say thank you to Julie McLaughlin, who was our business coach from 2016-2018, Sarah Janes, who is my soap business mentor, friends and family who have supported us and all our lovely customers.
Photo credit: Victoria Sedgwick Photography
Holiday with us
The barn and campsite get booked up very fast so don’t leave it till the last minute! You can check the calendar and book here. Here is one of our two new rescue dogs enjoying the view at Parkamoor cottage while John pumps spring water up to the house.
New Soap Dairy products
The Soap Dairy has not slowed down in what I thought would be a couple of quiet winter months. Shampoo bars are now in our online shop and the feedback has been phenomenal. I’ve had lots of wonderful messages and you can read some of them on Trustpilot. We also have four flavours of lip balms and I had our Dawn soap and a fragrance-free shampoo bar tested for suitability for babies. Both passed the rigorous safety assessments. These are not just great for babies but also for people with sensitive skin or problem skin such as eczema. You can buy Dawn Baby here.
You can now find some of our soap products in the National Trust shops at Hawkshead and Windermere. Really happy to see the National Trust supporting local producers.
We are very excited to be taking part at Edinburgh Yarn Festival as part of Make::Wool on Sunday 24th March. The event is sold out already but there should still be tickets to the main event. We will also be at Woolfest in Cockermouth, 28th and 29th June, always a highlight in our calendar. Below is a photo of our Cheviot wool with the Japanese company Spinnuts. It’s great to be exporting some of our rare and native wool to Japan where it’s highly valued, though not sure why the mask is necessary!
John is off to London next week for a meeting with DEFRA to discuss the future of upland farming. It’s an important meeting organised by The Upland Alliance to connect DEFRA with working farmers so they can have their ideas and opinions expressed directly to the decision makers. John will be representing the Federation of Cumbria Commoners and will be joined by representatives from the other upland areas of England.
Last month we had a visit from Field Officer Ruth Dalton and the new CEO of the RBST, Christopher Price. It was a pleasure to show them around the farm and talk about how we are working with rare breeds to promote their strengths in terms of a commercial farm system.