Recently Paul visited Hesper Farm, just the other side of Skipton, to meet Sam Moorhouse on his family farm and learn a little bit about how they make their ‘Yorkshire Skyr’ (pronounced ‘skeer’).
Farms diversifying and processing their milk to add value to the raw product is a hot topic at the moment considering the controversy all over the news about the price farmers are paid for milk. I started by asking Sam why he had decided to start making Yorkshire Skyr, he said:
“I was just searching the internet for some information on our Holstein Fresian cows and I came across a website talking the Icelandic breed of cow native to their island and this product they create called Skyr. A few months later I was in Iceland learning how to make it myself.
Yorkshire Skyr is a new product for us and word is starting to get out. We’ve got distribution with the Lancashire based produce supplier Wellocks and we’re getting into farm shops across Yorkshire and into East Lancashire.
Launching the product just a few weeks after Danish dairy giant Arla launched their own brand of skyr in the UK market has been a huge help. As we’ve been doing tastings across the country there is always someone that has heard of skyr and I doubt that would have happened if they hadn’t created the TV campaign.
Nowadays I spend most of my time during the week working with skyr and then it’s back to the usual general farming jobs on the weekend.”
To make skyr Sam adds vegetable rennet (obtained from mushroooms) and the live culture to the milk. The mixture is left to ferment for 6 hours and then stirred through to recombine the curd and the whey. It is then strained in cheesecloths for a further period of time before it is ready for packaging.
Once we moved out of the purpose-built skyr making facility I had the pleasure of meeting one of Sam’s girls. Kitty was a beautiful looking beast and very well behaved whilst Annette took hundreds of photos of her.
It’s great for us at Baltzersen’s to be able to get our hands on a locally made product with Icelandic roots. We already support farmers by purchasing milk, cream and butter direct from Acorn Dairy; an organic farm just over the border in County Durham. Yorkshire Skyr is one more connection we can make with the people that are keeping alive an industry that is part of Yorkshire and the UK’s rural heritage.
If you’d like to try our breakfast with Yorkshire Skyr, berries, buckwheat granola and honey then it’s available daily til Noon.