Although the farm has been in the family for generations, it’s only in the last couple of years that we’ve decided to turn our surplus milk into the family’s all-time favourite treat: ice cream!
Inspired by a love of food and farmers markets, it was farmer’s daughter, Sam who decided it was time to expand the family farm and venture in to the world of ice cream early in 2015.
While the milk on the farm has been used to create a wonderful local cheese for years, after purchasing a small pasteuriser and ice cream maker, Sam set to work creating a whole host of different flavours that you can find her out in the van with today.
While the first few weeks of experimenting and tasting were a lot of fun for the rest of the family and anyone who knew Sam it wasn’t long before the wider public were enjoying the ice creams at food markets and local events.
As demand from local restaurants and cafes began to grow, it was quite obvious that a quick expansion was needed!
A need for Expansion!
At this point, the family decided to convert an old shed, only 10 yards from the milking parlour in to a fully-kitted dairy where ice cream could be made on a slightly larger scale than the few litres at a time that were being achieved before!
With another pasteuriser and some additional kit, Sam was soon supplying a whole host of local eateries across North Devon, many of whom are still customers to this day.
Introducing our old Bedford
Before long, people were asking if Sam could attend their events, so when the opportunity to purchase a vintage ice cream van, affectionately renamed: Buttercup, arose, there was only one thing to do!
Buttercup has become a firm favourite with people across North Devon, with many booking her and Sam for events such as weddings, birthdays and musical concerts. When not at events, Sam and Buttercup can often be found at Instow sea-front serving all of the local dog-walkers, people enjoying the sunshine and just anyone who wants to treat themselves to a cone or two!
The Lowest Possible Food Miles
Our spot at Instow means your ice cream really has travelled the fewest food miles possible, with the milk travelling 10 yards from the dairy, we believe your ice cream will have travelled less than 3 miles before you consume it on the beach; something we’re really proud of.
If you see us out and about in the van, pop your head in and say hi, you’ll be guaranteed a warm welcome and a smile (and if we have some broken cones, your 4-legged friends might just be in luck too!)
Retaining our Core Values
Whilst we’ve grown quite a bit from that first experimental scoop we still pride ourselves on ensuring that each and every scoop is the very best that we can make it.
Our mission isn’t to be in every supermarket across the land or at every shop in every holiday destination, instead, we want to ensure that everyone who tastes our ice cream enjoys it as much as we enjoy making it, and with every batch still being made by hand, we hope to put a smile on your face when you try some!
The Farm and Cows
The farm is very much a family affair with everyone getting involved in some way or another. Whilst the ice cream is generally Sam’s department, the rest of the family concentrate on the day to day running of the farm. Our 150 head herd of dairy cows work hard too, producing a rough daily average of 2500 litres of milk between them. The majority of the milk is collected daily and taken a few miles away to be turned into gorgeous cheddar cheese.
Other than the milk, there is little than enters or leaves the farm gates. We rear every one of our calves – the females go on to join their mothers in the dairy herd whilst the males make up our beef stock. We grow, harvest and process the bulk of the cattle feed ourselves and the majority of the electricity needed to power the whole operation is generated from solar panels on the shed roofs.
Cared for in the heart of the North Devon countryside, our cows are free to roam and graze, and it’s this combined with the generous helpings of fresh clotted cream that ensure a rich and creamy taste.
Meet the team
Sam Bellew started Tennacott Farm Dairy in 2015, a life-long love of ice-cream mixed with a desire to get in to the food industry meant she wanted to do something new on the family farm.
The most important members of the team, our happy herd of cows are a big part of what we do. Supplying fresh milk twice a day we make sure we keep these ladies happy.
John & Maureen
Sam’s parents, John & Maureen have farmed at Tennacott for over 30 years. Still involved in all day to day activities including the regular tractor rides for visitors!
Along with his dad, David oversees the day to day running of the farm, getting involved in everything from milking and yard work through to ensuring that Eddie is kept entertained!
Sam’s younger sister, Tracey, is a keen farmer. Working between Tennacott and other farms in the area she gets involved in milking to ensure that we can make the ice cream!
Sam’s older sister Catherine is regularly roped in for the busy summer weekends to help out on the van, she often accepts her payments in ice cream to keep costs low!
Buttercup is our trusty van that allows us to attend all of the fantastic events and weddings across North Devon. At 31, she’s one of our older team members but is still going strong!
Eddie, our much-loved Springer Spaniel, sees himself very much as our Farm Manager! He’s always willing to trial left over ice cream and is often found following Sam around on the farm.
Responsible for ensuring our website and social media profiles are kept up to date, as well as the odd delivery and keeping Eddie amused (a bit like above!)
Tennacott Farm Dairy
Tennacott Farm are no longer serving ice cream. If you're looking for our holiday cottages, please visit www.holidaycottages.co.uk and search for Tennacott Lodge or Tennacott April Cottage.