Rising local demand for their cheese & raw milk during lockdown has encouraged an award-winning cheesemaker to invest in an expansion move designed to tempt more people to enjoy a true taste of Lincolnshire.
The Davenport family from Osgodby, near Market Rasen, has splashed out to create an exciting niche shopping experience on their dairy farm and people will be able to visit it from Friday, September 18.
Partners Michael and Mary Davenport their sons Ross and Joe, and his wife Laura, have built The Cheese Shed @ Cote Hill Farm and it ticks plenty of boxes – supporting today’s drive to get more people to shop locally, be eco-savvy and discover exactly where their food comes from.
Mary Davenport said: “We had been thinking of setting-up The Cheese Shed a few months ago but during the months of lockdown we became extra busy, thanks to a rise in local people calling to pick-up cheese and raw milk at the farm gate and a rise in demand for our UK-wide deliveries, and temporary local delivery service during lockdown.
“Whilst responding to changing demand, which underlined how people were not just going shopping at the supermarkets, we had the opportunity to discuss what we wanted our new “farm shop” to offer.
“We have had a tiny shed on site where we keep a small supply of cheese and raw milk for people to buy, but we wanted to do something more innovative and support other Lincolnshire producers too.”
Cote Hill’s Cheese Shed is now one of the first sights that greets visitors as soon as they head down the lane – along with the stars of Cote Hill, the dairy cows.
The smart new shed is fronted by two separate pathways – allowing pedestrians and cyclists to approach from one side and car drivers to park and approach the shed from the other – whilst also helping keep “socially distant.”
Cote Hill produces a range of five different artisan cheeses – Cote Hill Red, White, Yellow, Blue and Cote Hill Lindum. All are made by hand using the morning milk produced by the family’s own herd. Naturally, they will be among the most popular foods available from the shed – but how will it work?
Ross Davenport said: “What is so exciting is that people will be able to visit The Cheese Shed, select exactly what they want and pay contactless.
“We have a cheese vending machine stocked with our cheeses and also Lincolnshire Poacher cheese and butter. Next to that our ‘Local Provisions’ vending machine will stock, Lincolnshire Plum Bread, Jenny’s Jams, Stokes Tea & Coffee and local free-range eggs.
“More and more people have developed a taste for raw milk, so we have also installed a milk vending machine. It’s self-service so the customer fills the bottles themselves, knowing it’s as fresh as possible. Many people who initially tried our milk did not realise that full fat milk is actually 96 per cent fat free, with the layer of cream settling on the top. Many have discovered they preferred the taste and keep coming back for more,” said Ross.
During our opening weekend of September 18 to 20 we’ll be offering visitors free flavoured syrup to add to our milk to make delicious milkshakes.
The family has also installed a coffee vending machine, which will use freshly ground coffee from Stokes Tea & Coffee and of course our own fresh milk to create their own wonderful raw milk lattes.
“Lincolnshire is really popular with walkers and cyclists and, with the growing trend of cyclists’ cafes popping-up, we hope that The Cheese Shed will also prove to be a great stopping-off point for people who want to take a breather and stop for a coffee,” added Ross.
His brother Joe added: “It was real confidence boost when we mentioned what we were to do to some of our regular customers. Many liked the fact that they can buy raw milk in glass bottles, support a local producer and also and see our herd of more than 80 Friesian and Brown Swiss cows and be reassured of the provenance of what they are buying.
“We’re hoping that everyone who is passing by and spots our farm sign will enjoy visiting The Cheese Shed @ Cote Hill Farm,” he added.