Just a few miles east of the historic city of Durham lies a dairy with more than 100 years of proven excellence. Rock Farm Dairy began life in 1907 when Ruth Mary Gregory delivered milk to miners in and around the area.

Today, the business is in the safe hands of the third, fourth and fifth generations of the Gregory family and would be completely unrecognisable to Ruth Mary, although she would surely be very proud of what they have achieved!

Talking to John Gregory, Ruth Mary’s great grandson, one gets an immediate sense of the pride that the family has in its business. “We have grown dramatically over the last 10 years but especially in the last 18 months. During 2009, Dairy Farmers of Britain, based at Blaydon, closed and this provided an opportunity to expand our production capability. We incorporated a new storage area for bottles and caps and a new area for glass bottled milk production. Then, in 2010, we received £207,000 funding from the Rural Development Programme for England that enabled us to raise capacity from 9,000 litres per hour to 30,000. These investments have resulted in a growth in business, a five-fold increased annual turnover and the creation of another 56 jobs. This second round of funding will ensure a successful and viable future for the dairy safeguarding all the newly created jobs.”

Fresh milk and milk products are supplied across an area bounded by the Pennines to the west and from the M62 in the south to the Scottish borders. Customers include virtually all the schools in that area, council offices, nursing and care homes and as from 1st September 2010, the Dairy has been nominated as a joint supplier to the NHS. The Dairy has its own fleet of collection tankers, together with a fleet of more than

50 refrigerated vehicles ranging from 3.5t vans to 44t articulated lorries.

Back to John, “We are very grateful for the funding that we have received. We are continuing to invest and, within the last six weeks have opened a new milk reception bay that allows us to unload up to three tankers simultaneously into multiple reception silos. We are also installing a new Clean in Place System. We have further ideas for expansion and, although we already have a throughput of 750,000 litres per week, we are looking to double that. We are looking to pick up more business with the NHS and also with NISA where we can supply independently to individual sites or to centralised distribution depots.

In addition to our milk and cream products, we also produce two different orange juices and can supply bread, butter, cheese and yoghurts.

“We believe that there are two reasons for our success. The first, without a doubt is our family ethos – currently my father Clive and mother Connie, my brother Keith, my wife and our two sons are all actively involved in the business. The second is quality. We are BRC Grade A accredited and also a member of the Assured Foods Standards (Little Red Tractor) Scheme.”

For further information please telephone 01429 820340 or visit www.rockfarmdairy.co.uk

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