When Arthur Hollins took over the tenancy of Fordhall farm back in 1928, the farm was in a bad way. Along with his mother Lillian and his wife May they built up the fertility of the soil and in 1951 established a pedigree Jersey herd. In 1956 they began to make clotted cream, cream cheese and Cheshire cheese. Arthur’s first wife, May, knew about the health giving properties of live yoghourt from a very early age. She introduced yoghourt to the Hollins family table to help Arthur with his stomach problems.
It was only a matter of time before ‘Yoghourt’ (old fashioned spelling, now spelt yogurt or yoghurt) was introduced to the British public through the Fordhall Farm dairy. In May of 1957 Arthur and May started to produce and sell live organic yoghourt from the rich creamy milk produced by their pedigree TT Jersey herd.
Arthur started to sell yoghourt with pure pineapple juice as an alternative to plain yoghourt, and it was not long before he was making a range of unusual flavours such as; orange, lemon, blackcurrant, damsons, tangerine, wine, dandelion coffee, hazelnut with cherries and even chocolate flavoured yoghourt.
Arthur used a culture (bacillus bulgaricus) bought in Europe, one newspaper article from the 1960s stated he bought his culture from France. It was not long however before Arthur and his staff had developed their own culture on the farm. Arthur even sold the culture along with a recipe for making yoghourt at home.
Arthur advertised his yoghourts as “Easily digested and excellent for young children and invalids. It is popular with athletes and health-conscious people and when recommended by the doctors for diabetes, nerves, acidity, skin disorders, ulcers, constipation, slimming and after treatment with antibiotic drugs.”
Arthur also sold ‘Yoghourt Cheese’. The yoghourt is strained through muslin and the yoghurt whey is used elsewhere. What is left is yoghourt cheese, much lighter than standard cream cheese and with a slight ‘tangy’ taste. The whey was mixed with honey and fresh lemons and sold as a refreshing drink.
When Arthur and May set out on their ‘dairy adventure’ they sold their produce on local markets such as Market Drayton, Wellington, Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury. It wasn’t long before they were selling at high class department stores such as Harrods and Selfridges.
Arthur finished off his dairy operations in 1979 ; he had already started to develop his organic meat business. In 1972 Arthur opened up his own farm shop to sell his produce. Arthur’s son Ben is still in the organic meat business and sells his grass-fed beef and lamb and free-range Gloucester Old Spot pigs at the Fordhall Organic Farm shop. Click here for more.