If you ever happen to be in Lincolnshire, England, and you enjoy ice cream then I would recommend a visit to the family-run business, Daisy Made. It has been serving homemade ice cream since 1992 in Skellingthorpe , on the outskirts of the city of Lincoln. The Circular had a chat with one of the family members, Matt Scarborough, to find out more about how it all began and the secret to making a good tub of ice cream.
The minds behind the business are Nicola and David Scarborough. Their two children had started school and Nicola, who had been a stay-at-home mum, wanted something with which to occupy her time. The Daisy Made farm itself was already operating with its own dairy herd, so according to Matt Scarborough, “branching out into ice cream production using our own milk was a logical route into a farm diversification”. The business came to life back in 1992 and it all started off with a small wooden kiosk with no seating, an outdoor toilet, animal paddocks and a small play area.
Over the years the business has had a vast expansion and they now offer a full sized cafe with seating(that offers coffees, cakes, lunch and breakfast menus as well as ice cream), a drive through option, animal paddocks (where you can feed goats and calves), a bouncy castle, Crazy Daisy Golf with a 13-hole farm themed course, a larger play area, real petrol cars for children to drive during school holidays and weekends, and three alpacas called Barney, Oscar and Rupert.
The amount of ice cream flavours they offer has also increased over the years. Today they make over 70 different flavours, with 18 of them on offer each day at their shop. Matt Scarborough explains that, “Flavours change when one runs out, as we make them in limited numbers each time. So the busier the day, the faster the flavours change. In summer, we could be changing a flavour every hour”. They also get their inspiration for flavours in a number of ways, “Sometimes we set out to make a flavour for a specific event like the Rainbow ice cream for the recent Lincoln Pride event, or simply spotting something on a supermarket shelf which we could use to make a new flavour, like Lotus Biscoff flavour”.
On the farm they milk around 90 Fresian Holstein cattle twice a day and this milk equates to about 65% of their ice cream mixture. The other 35% comes from other dairy products such as skimmed milk powder, double cream, sugars and the different flavourings. But what is the secret to making a good tub of ice cream? Matt Scarborough explains that, “Because we have our own dairy herd, we get our milk very fresh, unaltered by processing or handling. Our cows will process the grass they are eating today to produce milk for tomorrow. That milk will be taken from our tanks just hours after milking, to be used for an ice cream mix. The ice cream mix will then take 24 hours to pasteurise and “age” which allows the mix to settle. It will then be frozen down and turned into ice cream, which requires 24 hours to harden in our blast freezer. It will then be ready to go to our shop for customers to enjoy. Grass to ice cream in 72 hours!”.
The Daisy Made Farm business is also looking to keep evolving as they have a large project in the pipeline for this Winter. The plan is to build a new factory space with dry stores, cold stores and an ice cream production area. According to Matt Scarborough, “Our existing factory has remained (relatively) unchanged since we opened our doors in 1992, and so we need a new purpose built factory to allow our business to continue growing”.