Creeting St Mary: Suffolk Farmhouse Cheese owners planning new venture in Channel Island of Sark
A Suffolk couple are looking forward to the challenge of providing milk and cheese to the Channel Island of Sark when they take over a dairy farm there from next year.
Katharine and Jason Salisbury have run Suffolk Farmhouse Cheese in Creeting St Mary since 2007 and will keep the mid-Suffolk enterprise running. But they are now planning a new venture after agreeing to take over the operation on the small island near Guernsey.
Katharine said: "We have been going there on holiday for years as we have friends there.
"We saw a news article about a search for a dairy farmer and it seemed like it was meant for us. We love Sark, it is a very unspoilt island, the wildlife is incredible, it has a lovely community and warmer weather than England."
Only 500 live in Sark, which is considered a crown dependency and is one of the few places in the world where cars are banned. It is accessible by flight to Guernsey and then, if weather allows, a short but bumpy ferry ride.
The salt air and fertile land was also part of the attraction to the Salisburys, who intend to grow their own cattle feed - and potentially employ local people. Their farm will provide the island's entire dairy production from 16 of the famous Guernsey cattle, which they will purchase and transport over. They aim to begin milking next spring.
"On Guernsey and Sark these are the only cows that are allowed to be bred," Katharine said. "They produce a lovely creamy, yellow coloured milk which tastes amazing."
The Sark opportunity came around when the previous farmer retired in 2017, and the Salisbury's experience at handling Guernsey cattle as well as Katharine's abilities as a vet were key in the decision for them to be awarded it last year.
The parents of two will now divide their time between Sark and Creeting St Mary - where a small number of staff and volunteers will continue working.
Katherine said: "It is a community project and we will produce milk for the islanders.
"There is a degree of pressure. It is going to be completely different for us, and we are going to have to be resourceful. But we know what to do and we are really excited.
"This is not just for us, dairy farming here has a heritage and we want to keep that going."