ONE of Cheshire’s tastiest tourist attractions is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
Remarkably, it’s been a quarter of a century since Cheshire Farm Ice Cream churned its first batch of the delicious dairy ice cream it’s now famous for.
And with more than 900 outlets across the county now stocking ice cream bearing the Cheshire Farm logo, and more than 300,000 people per year visiting the farm, it’s fair to say that the business has come a long way in 25 years.
It all started in 1986, not long after farmers Tom and Margaret Fell had moved to Tattenhall’s Drumlan Hall Farm with their two sons Graeme and Jonathan.
Due to the recent introduction of milk quotas, restricting the amount of milk produced, Tom had to decide whether to reduce his herd of 300 dairy cattle or think of a way of adding value to the excess milk being produced.
He was satisfied there was a gap in the market for ‘real dairy ice cream’ – and Cheshire Farm Ice Cream was born, with Tom converting part of his modern dairy farm buildings in to a production area, housing a parlour next door, where the public could buy ice cream.
In the years since, more of the farm buildings were used to make way for a tea shop, a farm-yard and an outdoor children’s play area.
And the Fell sons have now taken over the family business with Graeme and Jonathan as production manager and company director.
Jonathan, 39, who is more directly involved in the day to day upkeep of the Farm, said: “I grew up in an ice cream world really. I went straight into it after leaving school and then went into the factory for the first few years to learn about how ice cream is made.
“People’s interest grew and they seemed to want more, so we got a lot busier and added more things to appeal to families and to give them value for money.”
The public’s interest in the Ice Cream Farm has grown, and six years ago it was named Cheshire’s third largest tourist attraction of the year.
“Time has really flown and it still seems like yesterday we opened,” added Jonathan.
“It’s still very much a family business – my parents are still involved, they visit most days and are still re-investing regularly.
“And it’s also handy to have my brother Graeme running the manufacturing side of things. I have great staff working here and am looking forward to lots more busy years at the farm.”