Ice cream sales are back to their pre-Covid levels for Purbeck Ice Cream and despite the current financial pressures, it’s one treat everyone seems keen to continue.
The firm, based at Kingston, near Corfe Castle, has seen sales in 2022 match the previous best year of 2019, as the good summer weather has brought people out to beaches and venues across the area.
Hazel and Pete Hartle, owners of Purbeck Ice Cream
Started in 1988, the luxury ice cream maker is located at Lower Scoles Farm and employs around 20 staff, including seasonal employees who tour events with branded vans.
Donna White, marketing manager at Purbeck Ice Cream, said:
“The weather has been fantastic but people like an ice cream as a holiday treat whether it’s sunny or not. And even though they are having to watch their money a little more closely, they see an ice cream as an affordable treat when they go out.”
Purbeck Ice Cream was born out of a need to diversify with the introduction of milk quotas, prompting farmers Hazel and Pete Hartle to start the new venture in a converted building next to the dairy.
Staff at the Kingston farm factory with Corfe Castle in the background
Hazel Hartle said:
“We are stonkingly busy during this period of hot weather with over 4,000 litres being made every day for our super drivers to deliver to those in need!”
Two of the couple’s sons, Tim and Ben, are now also directors of the firm, and the other son Joe is on the farm too, producing Purbeck Cider.
Always keen to innovate, the family-run business now has more than thirty different flavours and boasts natural ingredients and nut and gluten-free products.
This year they introduced a vegan chocolate raspberry ice cream and, fittingly for the recent tropical weather, a lime and coconut flavour.
A Purbeck Ice Cream van at the Purbeck and Swanage Rotary summer fete in Sandpit Field
“See the cows from our window”
Over the Covid period in 2020, the firm embarked on an extensive expansion of the production facility with new offices and more refrigeration and cold-room capacity. They also installed extra solar panels to generate additional power to run the site.
Purbeck Ice Cream uses marmalade from the Dorset firm AJarOf for its Dorset Marmalade Ice Cream, Dorset Sea Salt for the Salted Caramel, and Swanage-based Love Cake provides the ‘Chrimbo Pud’ that goes into the Chrimbo Pud Ice Cream.
Milk comes from farms within three miles of the factory. Donna said:
“We can see the cows from our window!”
Lower Scoles Farm nestling on the hillside below Kingston
Purbeck Ice Cream also partners with the Jurassic Coast Trust giving them five pence per tub of the Jurassic range, which includes Dig-a-Saurus and Skull-Diggery.
They have never opened their own shop, preferring to distribute through existing established outlets and also at big events like the Chelsea, Hampton Court and Tatton Park RHS flower shows.
Joe’s Cafe on Studland’s South Beach
“Concentrating on this side of the business”
“We excel in the production of ice cream and are happy to continue concentrating on this side of the business, along with our events vans during the summer months.”
Customers include Seventhwave Restaurant at Durlston, Divers Down on Swanage Pier, Brook Tea Rooms, Budgens and Joe’s Cafe on Studland’s South Beach.
Divers Down has been with the firm since the days when Pete and Hazel used to toss a coin on who would milk the cows, look after the boys or deliver the ice cream.
And Blue Pool nature reserve at Furzebrook was one of the very first customers and continues to sell Purbeck Ice Cream to this day.
The factory turns out more than 4,000 litres of ice cream a day