Rebecca swaps auction house for life on the farm

Rebecca Mayhew runs a micro diary selling raw milk from Jersey cows. Picture: Nick Butcher.

Rebecca Mayhew runs a micro diary selling raw milk from Jersey cows. Picture: Nick Butcher. - Credit: Nick Butcher

As you know, I’ve been writing about auctions and antiques for the last three years.

Well, I’ve swapped my gavel for a milking cluster and it’s time for a change to the column as well!

A little over 18 months ago we went on a family holiday to Scotland and there, I fell in love with a friend’s Jersey cows. We have had a running joke in our household since having children – we’re always out of milk, and therefore jokingly have always said that we need a cow!

So, having had my heart stolen by the gorgeous Jersey girls, our friend Jon said that when he next visited us he’d bring us a cow, and on November 5, 2016, Freya arrived. We ended up with oodles of spare milk and gave lots away to friends. This happened to coincide with our search for a diversification project on our farm and after much encouragement from those who tried the milk, Old Hall Farm micro dairy was born.

We now have 11 milking cows and sell our raw milk, cream and butter to private individuals and restaurants not only in Norfolk and Suffolk, but all across the UK – our butter even has a Michelin starred fan base too.

Not only are we “micro” but we also have a “cow-calf dairy” which basically means that we keep cows and calves together for around the first six months.

Since we opened our dairy in May last year, the shop has grown significantly, and having obtained planning consent to extend, we hope to make this a reality in 2018.

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Diversification has been something that we have looked at for a long time in order to broaden our horizons from conventional agriculture and be less dependent on the whims of the supermarkets, and whilst we didn’t envisage diversifying into a dairy, it is incredibly satisfying to be able to put a new spin on things and work in the dairy industry albeit from a different angle.

If you’d like to read more about what we’re up to or find out which markets we go to, have a look at our website, call me on 07900 814252 or email