A Lake District Farmshop has been a runaway success for Channel 4.
The four-part series began three weeks ago and its first episode attracted 1.8 million viewers – more than the audience for the BBC’s coverage of Wimbledon at the same time.
Episode three is coming up and here, we meet some of the producers who are featuring on the show.
Thornby Moor Dairy
Carolyn Fairbairn began making and selling cheese more than 40 years ago to use up surplus milk from her pet goats.
Now running Thornby Moor Dairy with her daughter Leonie, this award-winning cheesemaker still approaches her craft in the authentic, uncompromising way she always has – using raw milk from local herds of Dairy Shorthorn cows and goats to create cheeses unique to North Cumbria’s Solway Plain.
Unusually for a small cheesemaker, Thornby Moor Dairy produces a wide range of styles, including hard farmhouse-style cheeses, mould-ripened soft cheeses, creamy blue cheeses and aromatic crumbly smoked cheeses.
All are made by hand and no two are ever quite the same – because the lactic acid bacteria responsible for fermentation are a factor she can’t wholly control.
“I can only wait for things to happen and help them happen,” Carolyn says. “My best cheese is always ahead of me.”
Tebay Services’ Farmshop buyer Alexander Evans, who began his career behind the cheese counter at Harrods, says he has huge respect for Carolyn.
Like other specialist cheese producers, he says, she has fought hard to preserve recipes and techniques deeply entwined with her local landscape.
In episode three of A Lake District Farmshop, Alex pays one of his regular visits to see Leonie and Carolyn at their cheese dairy in converted farm buildings at Thursby near Carlisle.
Outside the tar-blackened outbuilding where they smoke Alexander’s beloved sunset-yellow Cumberland Oak Smoked cheese – one of several Thornby Moor cheeses already for sale in Tebay’s Farmshop – Leonie offers him samples of some different cheeses in the hope that they will pass his taste test and earn a place on his cheese counter.
Pure Lakes is a natural skincare company based in Staveley, near Kendal.
It is owned by Claire and Gareth Mc Keever, who moved from London to Cumbria with their young family after buying the business fully in 2016 from its founders Iain and Sandra Blackburn.
Claire, a former actor and Salsa teacher, and Gareth, a former stockbroker, got to know and admire Pure Lakes products as customers.
Now they employ Iain and Sandra as part of the small team that handmakes face, body and bath products using pure essential oils and sustainable, naturally derived ingredients in the Staveley workshop.
They began working with Tebay Services around four years ago, after head of lifestyle Tracey Clowes and buyer Diana Hall approached them to discuss developing bespoke bath and beauty products inspired by the Westmorland Dales landscape.
“Westmorland was the inspiration,” Tracey says. “The places we are, the scents of the land and the life we live here – in touch with nature and its properties.”
Together they created exclusive essential oil blends that are now the basis of the own-label body washes, handwashes, body lotions and soaps that Pure Lakes makes for Tebay Services Farmshop and Tebay Services Hotel and they are also used to make Tebay Services’ own-label reed diffusers and candles.
In episode three of A Lake District Farmshop, filmed by Purple Productions, Gareth visits Tracey and Diana to discuss placing Pure Lakes’s new home spa boxes at Tebay Services.
The episode shows Claire and Gareth in their element, as they bring up their young family and run their growing small business close to the place where Claire grew up in the scenic heart of the Lake District.
The Pie Mill
The pie maker behind Tebay Services’s iconic Beef Growler, Amanda Wilson has worked with the Westmorland Family for more than 15 years.
More about A Lake District Farmshop
Episode three of A Lake District Farmshop is on Channel 4 at 8pm and available on catch-up.