Local cheesemaker launches innovative farm shop

Award-winning local cheese-making business, Cote Hill Cheese, have created a niche shopping experience on their dairy farm with their new farm shop, The Cheese Shed, which will open Friday September 18.

After recognising a growing demand for their cheese and raw milk during lockdown, the Davenport family, from Osgodby near Market Rasen, invested in innovative features to make up the farm shop, such as a cheese vending machine which stocks their own produce, a self service milk vending machine and more.

Partners Michael and Mary Davenport their sons Ross and Joe, and his wife Laura, have built The Cheese Shed @ Cote Hill Farm to sell their produce including their range of artisan cheeses, Cote Hill Red, White, Yellow, Blue and Cote Hill Lindum, made using the morning milk produced by the family’s own herd.

Mary Davenport said: “We had been thinking of setting-up The Cheese Shed a few months ago but during the months of lockdown we became extra busy, thanks to a rise in local people calling to pick-up cheese and raw milk at the farm gate and a rise in demand for our UK-wide deliveries, and temporary local delivery service during lockdown.

“Whilst responding to changing demand, which underlined how people were not just going shopping at the supermarkets, we had the opportunity to discuss what we wanted our new “farm shop” to offer.

“We have had a tiny shed on site where we keep a small supply of cheese and raw milk for people to buy, but we wanted to do something more innovative and support other Lincolnshire producers too.”

The smart new shed is fronted by two separate pathways – allowing pedestrians and cyclists to approach from one side and car drivers to park and approach the shed from the other to keep in line with social distancing, and visitors can pay contactless.

Mary Davenport demonstrates The Cheese Shed’s new raw milk dispenser

The family has also installed a coffee vending machine, which will use freshly ground coffee from Stokes Tea & Coffee and of their own fresh milk to create their own raw milk lattes.

The shed will open the weekend of September 18 to 20, and they will be offering visitors free flavoured syrup to add to their milk to make milkshakes.

Ross Davenport said: “What is so exciting is that people will be able to visit The Cheese Shed, select exactly what they want and pay contactless.

“We have a cheese vending machine stocked with our cheeses and also Lincolnshire Poacher cheese and butter.

“Next to that our ‘Local Provisions’ vending machine will stock, Lincolnshire Plum Bread, Jenny’s Jams, Stokes Tea & Coffee and local free-range eggs.

“More and more people have developed a taste for raw milk, so we have also installed a milk vending machine.

“It’s self-service so the customer fills the bottles themselves, knowing it’s as fresh as possible.”

“Many people who initially tried our milk did not realise that full fat milk is actually 96 per cent fat free, with the layer of cream settling on the top.

“Many have discovered they preferred the taste and keep coming back for more.”

“Lincolnshire is really popular with walkers and cyclists and, with the growing trend of cyclists’ cafes popping-up, we hope that The Cheese Shed will also prove to be a great stopping-off point for people who want to take a breather and stop for a coffee.”

His brother Joe added: “It was real confidence boost when we mentioned what we were to do to some of our regular customers.

“Many liked the fact that they can buy raw milk in glass bottles, support a local producer and also and see our herd of more than 80 Friesian and Brown Swiss cows and be reassured of the provenance of what they are buying.

“We’re hoping that everyone who is passing by and spots our farm sign will enjoy visiting The Cheese Shed @ Cote Hill Farm.”

To find out more contact the Davenports on 01673 828481, or email [email protected].