Dinky mobile dairy sets up shop in Suffolk

William Groom has set up his own micro dairy in Ixworth, supplying villages within a 15-mile radius with fresh milk

William Groom has set up his own micro dairy in Ixworth, supplying villages within a 15-mile radius with fresh milk - Credit: Charlotte Bond

As people look to see how they can reduce their carbon footprint and become more eco-friendly, one local farmer has done both.

Meet William Groom. Suffolk born and bred, this dairy farmer and entrepreneur has just established his very own micro dairy here in the region – and hopes his way of farming will make a difference by becoming one of the first carbon neutral dairies in the UK. 

William Groom and his Jersey cows

William Groom and his Jersey cows - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Explaining the inspiration behind the venture, he says: “We set the business up in order to help change the perception of the dairy industry, without being reliant on milk companies for a contract. Our aim is to bring farming back to being more personal, and to provide an eco-friendly, sustainable dairy with high welfare at the forefront of our ethos. 

William has plenty of experience in the world of farming, and while his father has an arable farm here in the region, he chose to go down the dairy route.  

“After graduating from the Royal Agriculture University, I travelled around the country working on farms and managing them. I then worked in the commercial side, and was a dairy consultant in Hampshire before coming back to Suffolk.” 

It was during lockdown that William came up with the idea of establishing his very own dairy farm in Ixworth.

William uses a small number of Jersey cows on his farm, meaning his farm's nitrogen output is lower than the average farm

William uses a small number of Jersey cows on his farm, meaning his farm's nitrogen output is lower than the average farm - Credit: Charlotte Bond

 

“Originally I’d planned on setting up a larger farm but that fell through. We were stumped with that to do next, so we focussed our efforts on a low-carbon dairy farm.  

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“In modern times especially, it’s critical change that has to happen, and it’s important to me that the farm we run is sustainable and has environmental benefits.” 

And thus, Little Chare Dairy was born.  

William runs the farm alongside his younger brother Jacob, who is currently a final year agriculture student at Harper Adams University. 

William and his Jersey cows

William and his Jersey cows - Credit: Charlotte Bond

“My other half, Ellis, is also heavily involved in the business as she is a full-time vet and makes sure our cows stay happy and healthy,” he adds.  

But what is it that makes his dairy farm so eco-friendly?  

“We graze a small number of Jersey cows on a large area of grass. We use a low amount of manufactured nitrogen, and let the cows make organic manure.” 

The Little Chare Dairy milk trailer and vending machine, which travels around Ixworth and surrounding villages

The Little Chare Dairy milk trailer and vending machine, which travels around Ixworth and surrounding villages - Credit: Charlotte Bond

William prides himself on milking and processing everything on the farm – meaning he is not reliant on outside sources producing unnecessary carbon miles. And a smaller number of cows means his farm’s nitrogen emissions are lower than the average dairy farm.  

“Once we’ve milked the cows, we then distribute the milk within a 15-mile radius. We’ve also got a vending trailer which we circulate around the local villages.” 

The converted rice trailer houses a milk vending machine, which makes its way around villages between Diss and Bury St Edmunds seven days a week – ensuring local people don’t have to rely on dairy products that have a carbon footprint attached to them.  

All of William's milk is milked and processed on his Ixworth farm - meaning a lower carbon footprint

All of William's milk is milked and processed on his Ixworth farm - meaning a lower carbon footprint - Credit: Charlotte Bond

William produces Jersey milk and milkshakes, and also sells one litre glass bottles which people can purchase and reuse whenever they need to refill.  

“Our milk is £1.30 for one litre, and our milkshakes are £1.80 for a litre. We’re out Monday to Sunday from 8.30am until 5pm every day, and our closest location is around a mile away from the farm. 

Customers can buy Jersey milk, or flavoured milkshakes

Customers can buy Jersey milk, or flavoured milkshakes - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Little Chare Dairy – which has only been trading for around four months – has already built up a legion of loyal followers in the nearby villages, and William hopes to expand his venture before Christmas by making cream and butter.  

“If our first site continues the way it is going, we would look to set up multiple sites across East Anglia - all micro-dairies - with the aim of supplying a small community each.” 

To find out more about Little Chare Dairy, visit its Instagram page.

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