The end of the summer holidays and the children going back to school usually marks the end of the busier part of the summer for us, a time when we can take stock of the year to this point, and begin to transition our flavour range to more autumnal flavours, and think ahead to (dare we mention it?!) Christmas…But with talk of a September heatwave in the coming days and weeks, we’re not going to be focussing on Baileys and Christmas Pudding just yet! Plenty of time to ponder that.
It is just over three years now since we started the Gelato venture, and almost two years since we introduced the milk vending machine - we have been overwhelmed by people’s support and enthusiasm for our products during that time, as well as the awards that we have won. Needless to say the last year and a half has been a huge challenge - navigating the ever-changing waves of Covid restrictions to find a new way of operating has been tricky, and closing off portions of the farmyard which we know our customers so love has been really frustrating for us - but of course, we are grateful that we have been able to operate in the way that we have during this time.
As a small-batch enterprise, albeit with so many different flavour choices, a range that is evolving all the time, it is often a no-win situation picking out the flavours on a given day! We always try to ensure a fair balance between child-friendly, chocolate, plain, fruity, and something a little bit more ‘special,’ but obviously this cannot always be guaranteed. We are thrilled with the way our customers engage with our flavours on social media, and if we could offer every flavour, we would!! Additional to the flavours we have in the shop, we always try to maintain a wide variety of flavours in our 500ml takeaway tubs, so do always ask in the shop and you might find your ‘perfect’ flavour is available as a Wholly treat to take home with you.
This past year, we have collaborated with numerous local business to bring some new flavours to our range:
We have worked with Hetty’s to not only provide the brownie flakes that provide the finishing touch to your scoops, but also to weave in different brownie flavours into our “Wholly Hetty” flavour.
We teamed up with Salt Bakehouse for “Cinnabun” and various croissant flavours.
We have been so grateful to Tim at Elmore Fruit Farm for his supply of all kinds of berries which make the most beautiful fruit coulis flavours - this year we have introduced Tayberry, Loganberry, Chuckleberry, Blackcurrant and Redcurrant, alongside the more traditional strawberry and raspberry. We have been also been inundated with Rhubarb and thus created Rhubarb Eton Mess and Rhubarb Fool, both of which were big hits!
We also collaborated anew with The Boutique Distillery to introduce various gin flavour combinations.
And a real highlight has been the evolution of our Pistachio flavour, bolstered by supply from Pistachio Provenance.
And it would be remiss not to mention our Gelato Assistant, Rose, who is continually coming up with new and exciting ‘inclusions’ to add to the Gelato - honeycomb, homemade fudge, cookie dough, millionaire shortbread to name but a few.
So we love to collaborate! And if you are a local business owner/food producer and you would like to engage with us, please do! You never know what our combined efforts might be able to concoct!
Aside from the Gelato, the work on the farm never stops. For a medium-sized herd which produces nigh on 1.5 million litres of milk each year, there is always plenty to do. Battling against the variables of the weather which never seem to provide perfect conditions for the given moment (if you have seen Clarkson’s Farm, you might well have sympathy for us!), fluctuating milk prices, increased cost of raw materials (who would know that a straw bale reached £60 per bale at one point this past year?!), quite often it can lead to questions of ‘is it all worth it?’
On the family front it has been a busy time for us, too. Weddings, rearranged weddings, more rearranged weddings, the pitter-patter of grandchildren arriving, new jobs, new homes…in spite of all the negative goings-on in the world, it really has been a blessed period for the Hobbs clan.
So, is it all worth it?! When we see the affection the customers have for our cows, and the Gelato and Milk which the farm directly supplies, it makes those 4.30 starts, and all that follows in the intervening hours until we put our heads down at the end of the day, that little bit more palatable. So maybe we are inclined to keep pulling on the wellies, venturing out into whatever the weather throws at us, because we know that our customers would never forgive us if we didn’t!