Luxury ice cream maker Cream o’ Galloway has launched a new programme of events and experiences to take visitors behind the scenes of their food and farming businesses.
The new events have been developed following the closure of the popular attraction’s adventure playground, which had become unviable as a result of the social distancing required by Covid-19. This was due to the unpredictable movement and tight spaces inherent in the playground’s design.
Owner Wilma Finlay has revealed that Cream o’ Galloway has now installed two large Covid-safe workshop areas in the visitor centre, and is incorporating new on-farm visitor experiences into a regular event programme. The new workshop rooms are designed to allow social distancing and provide plenty of ventilation to minimise Covid-related risk.
“Covid and lockdown forced us to completely rethink the experiences we provide at Cream o’ Galloway, and as part of that we’ve explored how the visitor centre might incorporate all the different businesses on our farm – so Cream o’ Galloway’s ice cream, The Ethical Dairy’s cheese and of course Rainton Farm itself.
“We ran some pilot workshops last August and they proved so popular that we realised making ice cream is almost as much fun as eating it! Just as importantly, it’s something that people of all ages can enjoy. So, we decided to redesign half of our visitor centre to create dedicated food tourism workshop areas that can allow easy social distancing.
“Cream o’ Galloway has always been a place where people can come together to share fun experiences. Continuing to provide memorable, shared experiences is the thinking behind these new events.”
Food tourism has been identified as a priority in the recovery of Scotland’s tourism sector from Covid-19, and it’s the focus of an industry-led drive to deliver an additional £1 billion to Scotland’s economy by 2030.
Rainton Farm, home of Cream o’ Galloway and The Ethical Dairy, is the largest cow with calf dairy farm in Europe. Rather than being separated at birth like most dairy farms, the calves at Rainton stay with their mums for up to 6 months to suckle naturally, as part of an organic, regenerative dairy farming system. Regular farmer-led tours exploring the pioneering dairy system will be introduced from late June in response to growing interest in the farm itself.
David Finlay, who will be leading the tours, said:
“We get a lot of enquiries from members of the public and from other farmers about our farming system, because cow with calf dairy farming is still very unusual and people naturally have a lot of questions about what we do here.
“This new Farm Tour is an opportunity for people who are really interested in farming, environmental management and sustainable approaches to food production to come onto the farm to explore these topics in some depth.
“The environmental impact of farming is going to become more and more important in the race to net zero, so we want to play our part in that journey by sharing our knowledge and our experiences.”
As well as the new food tourism workshop areas, the ice cream parlour at Cream o’ Galloway has been redesigned. It is hoped a new tearoom area with a wood burning stove will mean the visitor centre can stay open year-round. An onsite cheese counter and farm inspired décor brings sister company, The Ethical Dairy, fully into the visitor centre too.
“Cream o’ Galloway is more than 25 years old and we’ve seen lots of changes over the years. Covid may have forced us to move into a new phase, and the closure of the adventure playground will understandably be disappointing for some of our visitors, but we are determined to continue to offer high quality visitor experiences here that can be enjoyed by all ages.”
The new food tourism experiences are as follows:
Ice Cream Making Workshops will take place daily during weekends and school holiday periods. The guided workshops involve making and flavouring ice cream from scratch, and cost £25 per workstation, suitable for up to three people working together. Adult-only groups will be able to incorporate alcohol into their ice cream.
The full day Cheese Making Courses run regularly throughout the year, and weekly during holiday periods. The course includes practical hard and soft cheese making sessions, a farm tour, cheese tasting, cheese store tour and lunch. The course costs £95 per person, or £130 for two people working together at a single workstation.
All About Our Farm is a new family friendly farm tour with subject matter suitable for children and young people, priced at £6 per person taking place on weekdays during school holidays.
The Ethical Dairy Farm Tour is an in-depth weekly event led by the farm team which will explore the environmental impacts of different farming approaches and topical issues. This event is designed for adults and will usually be led by David Finlay, who has pioneered cow with calf dairy farming in Scotland. The farm tour costs £15 per person, and will normally provide an opportunity for visitors to meet the cows and their calves.