On Saturday night we went up to Our Cow Molly at Dungworth for their Family Bonfire. I’d hoped to take my gorgeous little nephew who’s nearly 2, for a ride on the fire engine they had hired out for the day but my big bro changed his plans at the last minute. It didn’t look like there were many other people there without kids, but within minutes I was as excited as all the small people overawed by the fireworks, blaze and fabulous atmosphere.
If you don’t know much about Our Cow Molly, it’s time you did. Eddie Andrew is the founder of Our Cow Molly which is based at his family’s dairy farm in Dungworth and they’ve been making quality ice cream using their own milk since 2007. Our Cow Molly was one of the first food producers to be branded with the Made In Sheffield mark. In June this year, during the Sheffield Food Festival, they held a grand opening for their ice cream parlour as well as a massively successful event which featured some of Sheffield’s best local food producers and a new world record for the fastest ever production of 1L ice cream – 10.34 seconds! They have over 80 cows and there are often new born calves to see at the farm when you pop up for ice cream and other treats from their farm shop. A number of outlets around Sheffield sell the ice cream, but there are additional deluxe flavours that are only available at the farm, including honeycomb, wild cherry cheesecake, blueberry muffin and Bakewell tart.
Eddie has been advertising the bonfire for weeks and I was really looking forward to it. We drove up there just after 5 and as we approached the farm, we could see the bonfire blazing in the distance. We were ushered onto one of the farm’s fields to park (for free) and then started to realise how many people were there – hundreds! It must have been one of Sheffield’s biggest bonfire parties this weekend and rightly so, because Eddie and the team put on a truly fabulous event. The fireworks were tremendous – definitely a cut above the ones we’d seen at a pub display the night before – and went on for nearly 2 hours – maybe longer, but we got cold and went home! If you were getting chilly, you could warm up quickly next to the huge bonfire – the man next to me muttered ‘I can feel my eyebrows about to go up in flames’.
After a few ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaahhhs’ at the fireworks, we went for a wander round the yard by the ice cream parlour. As you’d expect for a farm that is passionate about local food, there was food and drink on offer from nearby producers, including a bar run by Bradfield Brewery, sausages from Bradfield Meats and Yorkshire Highland beef burgers – and of course the ice cream parlour was open too.
There were huge queues for the hot food and the ice cream – but with it being a family event, there was no queue at all at the bar so we got some pints of Farmers Belgian Blue (4.9%), which is a Christmas beer with ‘berry overtones’ that’s only been available since the start of November. No prizes for guessing that it’s also got a bluey-purpley tinge.
As we drank, we watched the visitors enjoying the mini-disco in the yard and enjoying family time together – it was such a happy, positive event that I ended up feeling a little bit warm and fuzzy inside and – if this isn’t a bit OTT – feeling like I had a bit more faith in mankind. It was pure wholesome fun, about food, drink, family, friends and fireworks in a beautiful spot overlooking a huge city but you’d never realise out there that you’re just 15 mins away from the centre of Sheffield.
As the queue for food was so long – perhaps they underestimated how many hungry visitors they’d have – we decided we’d eat at home, but buy a tub of ice cream for pudding. Despite the thermometer outside the farm shop showing it was 6°C, the visitors were undeterred and I had to queue for about 20 minutes to get a tub of ice cream. We chose a tub of honeycomb flavour (which had crispy chunks in a very smooth ice cream) and somehow, a pack of Round Green Farm venison and orange sausages managed to sneak its way into my shopping basket too.
Our Cow Molly is a true ambassador for local food and I’m immensely proud that we have it here in Sheffield. They very deservedly shared the award for Favourite Family Friendly Food Operation at the 2010 Eat Sheffield Restaurant Awards and their fantastic bonfire party this weekend is a perfect example of why they’re so popular, and not just for the great tasting ice cream, but for the enthusiasm and warmth that is evident in all they do.