When young Yorkshire farmer Sam Moorhouse, 23, was looking to diversify the family dairy farm, he came across a story about the Icelandic cow and the production of skyr (pronounced skeer). Sam recognised the potential of a product which, while creamy and delicious, also had impressive health credentials.
A super-nutritious staple across Scandinavia and Iceland, skyr has been enjoyed there since the 9th century – first made in Viking times. So Sam set off for Iceland where he learnt the age-old techniques of making skyr traditionally, from skyr master Thorarinn.
Skyr is made by incubating skimmed milk with live active cultures. The water contained in the milk – the whey – is then strained away. At Hesper Farm, Sam uses traditional methods, a heritage Icelandic culture dating back to the year 874 and milk from the farm’s pedigree herd to make the skyr in a new purpose-built onsite dairy.
Per pot, about four times as much milk is used as an equivalent pot of traditional plain yoghurt, meaning it’s incredibly thick and beautifully creamy. It contains no fat and low sugar but is high in protein and calcium, and nothing artificial is added. On top of all that it also tastes delicious!
Sam’s own cow ‘Baby’ is on the Hesper Farm Skyr logo. She is a renowned character at Hesper Farm – Baby does her own thing, and will not be persuaded otherwise! Sam thought that Baby perfectly encapsulated his ethos of provenance, innovation and going their own way, being the first British farm to make skyr.
Sam says: “We’ve been in business a year now and are delighted to have won a ‘Great Taste Award Gold Star’ as well as Deliciouslyorkshire’s ‘Best Yoghurt’ and the overall ‘Supreme Champion’ title. I won the Dalesman Award for Young Achiever of the Year and I’ve also been shortlisted this year for British Farming Awards’ Dairy Innovator of the Year. Our strapline which crystallises our approach is straightforward, ‘We don’t follow the herd’.”
You’ll find Hesper Farm Skyr in selected Booths stores as well as a growing number of independent farm shops and delis across Yorkshire and Cumbria including: Fodder, Harrogate; Balloon Tree, Gate Helmsley nr York; and Keelham Farm Shops, Skipton and Thornton.