Alston Dairy - Lancashire Business Profile
PUBLISHED: 11:34 20 December 2010 | UPDATED: 14:34 20 February 2013
In the early spring of 1982 Ann Forshaw was in trouble. The bank manager visited her dairy farm and told her she could borrow no more and that he was planning to sell the farm.
In the early spring of 1982 Ann Forshaw was in trouble. The bank manager visited her dairy farm and told her she could borrow no more and that he was planning to sell the farm. 'I told him ''No you're not. You come back here in six months - we'll be all right by then''.'
Ann had recently started making yogurt after learning the techniques on a one day course at the agricultural college in Hutton and was determined it would subsidise their farming income. When the bank manager came back he was full of praise for Ann and now, 25 years on, she is the north's top yogurt manufacturer and supplies all the major supermarket chains.
'Things were pretty gloomy but after a few disasters I got the hang of making yogurt and I took a stall at a food show. Along with my sister and my niece we potted 10,000 yogurts and to my amazement we sold them all.
'At that stage we were supplying a few corner shops but after the show Booths stocked my yogurts in two of their stores. They each took 20 dozen pots which I thought was a massive order but they both sold out and over six months I started to supply all 25 stores.
We now supply all the big shops, schools, hospitals - you name it.' And from her humble beginnings making yogurt in her farmhouse kitchen at Longridge, Ann now has a huge range of products including nine kinds of yogurt - from probiotic to liqueur - in 33 different flavours.
'Our herd has grown too, we now have 300 cows and all our yogurt is made using milk from our farm. It was a very risky move at first but we had to do something and thankfully it worked very well for us.
'I'm the managing director now and my two sons and two grandsons are on the farm. I do all the work on recipes and I do still work on the conveyor belt and whatever else needs doing as well.'
Visit www.alstondairy.co.uk or contact 01772 782621 for information.