Former dairy owners ‘extremely saddened’ at its closure – and for staff and farmers affected
- Credit: Gregg Brown
The previous owners of a dairy operation in north Suffolk said they were “extremely saddened” as production ceased at the plant.
The Strachan family started Marybelle Dairy as a means of selling milk from their own dairy farm at Rendham, near Framlingham, and others in the surrounding area, but sold the business a few years ago to a Belgian-owned company, Pur Natur.
Pur Natur decided to close the factory, which is based at Old Hall Farm, Walpole in October this year, with the loss of 19 jobs.
MORE - Brexit blamed as plug pulled on 'last remaining' dairy factory in East AngliaHowever, the Strachan family continues to run a successful ice cream firm - Suffolk Meadow - at The Solar Shed, which is based at the Walpole site, having moved to new premises across the yard about three years ago. The new building is powered using solar panels.
The ice cream business is owned by former dairy farmer David Strachan of Rendham, and is run by his daughter Katherine Manning, who is development manager. Meanwhile, back at the former dairy farm at Rendham, son, James, has set up the Birds & Bees campsite.
Mrs Manning stressed that although they were "extremely saddened" by the news of the dairy factory's closure, Suffolk Meadow Ice Cream will not be affected.
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"Suffolk Meadow Ice Cream is a separate business, under separate ownership to Marybelle Dairy, and as such will not be impacted by Marybelle Dairy ceasing production. There were a number of years when we were under the same roof as each other, and have a history of working closely together. In 2014, when Pur Natur invested in the Marybelle Dairy, Suffolk Meadow relocated to its own premises," she explained.
"Our thoughts are with the employees and the farmers who will be most impacted by this decision.
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Suffolk Meadow would like to assure all of our customers that it will continue to produce luxury ice cream, sorbet, frozen yoghurt and ice cream cakes, from our purpose built ice creamery in Walpole."
Suffolk Meadow Ice Cream, a 30-year-old family business, uses local milk and cream to create luxury ice cream, sorbet, frozen yoghurt and ice cream cakes in more than 60 flavours. It supplies a wide range of stores, farm shops, hotels and restuarants within a 50 mile radius of its purpose-built ice creamery.
MORE - Framlingham dairy farmer swaps milk herd for campsite to bring balance to family life