<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

Pemberton’s Dairies - a traditional raw milk produce in Lytham

PUBLISHED: 00:00 07 September 2017

Andrew and Ailsa Pemberton and son, Tom, outside their new Farm Shop

Andrew and Ailsa Pemberton and son, Tom, outside their new Farm Shop


Raw milk may be en vogue these days. But Lytham’s oldest farming family have been producing raw milk for more than a century. Emma Mayoh reports.

Raw milk dispenser Raw milk dispenser

The popularity of raw milk is on the rise. Listen to any foodies chewing over the latest culinary fads and no doubt someone would be extolling its virtues. And they wouldn’t be wrong. But one of Lytham’s oldest farming families, Pemberton’s Dairies at Birks Farm, is well ahead of the trend. This long established family business has been supplying raw milk to the local Fylde community for more decades.

If you take a drink of raw milk, it’s unlikely you’d recognise it as that stuff you enjoyed as a child. The milk – dubbed raw because it hasn’t been heated and homogenised – is richer, creamier and has a much more distinctive taste. More and more people are craving that buttery, silky hit that comes from raw milk, which is in fact more yellow in colour than white.

‘Raw milk is so good for you,’ said owner, Andrew Pemberton. ‘It went out of fashion with worries of ecoli and unwanted bacteria so we did pasteurised milk for a while. But raw milk is all we used to do 40 years ago. It’s untreated and it comes straight from the cow, a natural source direct from these girls. That’s why we wanted to do it again.

‘Farming has changed and more emphasis has been placed on volume and less on butterfat percentage meaning there are less Jersey and traditional dairy breeds being milked. We still maintain a lot of Ayrshire cattle – and have Highland cattle for beef – which give a good balance of production and quality. The cows are grass fed, which is important to get that great flavour. But one or two of them are partial to Rowntree’s sweets and some relish Rice Krispies. They’re allowed a treat once in a while.

Two weeks old Highland calf 'Mini' Two weeks old Highland calf 'Mini'

‘The milk is really good for muscle repair too. It’s a great drink to have when you’ve been exercising. People are surprised to hear that but you can’t beat it.’

The family firm was first established by Thomas Pemberton who started out in cattle buying, after growing up on more than 100 acres of farming land in Wharles. That led to opening a butchers shop in Clifton Street in Lytham which was then taken on by his son, John. Although the butchers is no longer there, farming has remained in the family since. But little would Thomas have known that he was at the start of a successful farming business that now spans six generations.

‘Apparently Thomas used to say that he would be a success if he managed to keep six cows,’ said Andrew. ‘When he came to turn the business over he had 60. That was quite some going. We have more than 250 now.

‘His son John took the business on and he farmed at Home Farm at Lytham Hall before the Pemberton’s took on the tenancy here at Birks Farm. The meat used to be delivered by butcher’s bike and the milk was delivered by horse and cart in the morning and afternoon. It was supplied in large churns and ladled out to customers into their own jugs and containers.’

While things may have changed at this Lytham dairy – today there is no need for a horse and cart to deliver the milk – the passion, commitment and keenness for quality from Andrew, wife Ailsa and his children, including son Thomas who has taken a very large role on the farm, has never waned.

‘We love what we do,’ Andrew said. ‘I’ve been on this farm every day for 60 years, there’s never been a day I’ve been off it.

‘I’m proud to be a part of something that has played such a large role in my family history. I love what I do and it’s great for all of us to work together to do it.’

Thomas is keen to take on the business as well as drive it into the future. Having studied at the Royal Agricultural College for two years, the young farmer is happiest spending his days in the milk parlour.

‘I love being in the parlour and around the farm first thing in the morning, when no one else is around,’ said Thomas. ‘It’s so quiet and it’s a nice time of day for me.

‘Raw milk is something that our family always sold. I’m really proud to be a part of continuing that tradition.’

The new Pembertons Farm Shop, which has been open a few months, is the latest venture for the family lead by Andrew’s brother in law, Duncan Waller. The shop sells meat reared in the fields behind the shop on the farm, their raw milk which customers can get from a specialist self serve machine – and pay for in the honesty box – and a bounty of other produce from other Lancashire farms and food producers. It’s a project that has been well supported by the local community.

‘We’ve offered a delivery service for the last 50 years by milk van and before that, horse and cart, even butcher’s bike,’ said Andrew. ‘It’s kept us ahead of the game. The shop is a part of that.

‘We are optimistic that the Pemberton family will continue to produce and sell their milk to the many households on the Fylde coast for future generations. We have long been closely involved with Lytham life and we don’t want that to change.’

More from Food & Drink

Fri, 09:41

Take a break from your spending spree with this selection of afternoon teas located around the main shopping areas of King Street and Exchange Square in the centre of Manchester.

Read more
Afternoon Tea Manchester
Tue, 09:21

Our new columnist, Debby Donnelly-Addison is determined to fly the flag for produce from the county, as Emma Mayoh discovered

Read more
Tue, 09:19

Making the most of the last of the winter pears, this lightly spiced cake combines the gentle heat of ginger with the sharp sweetness of cream cheese.

Read more

Two mavericks of the food and drink world collided with beautiful results at The Art School, Liverpool, writes Rebekka O’grady.

Read more
Mon, 16:43

The Boho Baker shares her hearty dish that’s full of Lancashire goodness

Read more
Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Just back from the jungle, Jennie McAlpine on missing her family and serving tea fit for a queen. Mairead Mahon reports

Read more
Afternoon Tea Manchester
Friday, December 29, 2017

Gin tasting is increasing in popularity across the country, we round up some of the best events across Lancashire. Some of these events sell out fairly quickly, but the organisers do often host multiple events throughout the year.

Read more
Friday, December 29, 2017

Our guide to some of the best food and drink events in the county throughout 2018

Read more
Things to do in Lancashire Lancashire Food
Friday, December 29, 2017

John Loftus used to be tee-total. Now the farmer is making top quality gin with his son in law from his historic farm in Weeton. And it has exploded onto the market. Emma Mayoh reports

Read more
Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The latest Lancashire Life luncheon was staged in the magnificent setting of Samlesbury Hall.

Read more
Lancashire Life Luncheon
Friday, December 15, 2017

Lancashire cheese is perfect all year round but with so many brilliant makers which do you choose? Here is our guide to a few favourites

Read more
Wednesday, December 13, 2017

We’ve compiled a guide of top tips from culinary experts to help you with your festive feast.

Read more
Monday, December 11, 2017

Chefs, restaurateurs and food producers were honoured at this year’s prestigious Lancashire Life Food & Drink Awards. Emma Mayoh reports.

Read more
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Subscribe or buy a mag today

Lancashire Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Property Search