Forfar’s dairy still going strong
Family-run North Street Dairy in Forfar, Angus produces milk, butter and cream with traditional values
Four generations on and 100 years later, North Street Dairy remains a local family-run business still at the original site in Forfar. ‘From what we remember, our great-grandfather William Hebenton came to this dairy around 1914 when it was a small croft within Forfar,’ says his great-grandson Hamish Miller who, together with his sister Alison and parents Aileen and Norman, runs the business today.
Key to the success of North Street in an increasingly competitive market has been its ability to adapt to the modern landscape without compromising on taste, by keeping the time from cow to customer to an absolute minimum.
Aileen, who has been working at the dairy for over 60 years and now runs the small onsite shop, remembers a childhood moving cows from their grazing boundaries just outside the town to the milking site each day. While they no longer keep a herd, the raw milk bought from nearby Baldoukie Farm continues to be processed at North Street – the only dairy between Crieff and Aberdeen to still do this.
The process involves pasteurising the milk and extracting the cream, leaving behind whole, semi-skimmed and skimmed milks that are the very definition of fresh. No product is wasted, and North Street’s speciality is the rich golden butter made with the cream, which is particularly popular at local farmers’ markets.
The dairy has retained its strong family values. As well as supplying local restaurants and businesses – including Saddlers and Milton Haugh Farm Shop – the milk run, once done by the traditional ‘horse and cairt’, prevails today. ‘We have a very loyal customer base in the Forfar, Kirriemuir, Letham and Glamis area who like fresh milk delivered to their doorstop,’ says Hamish.
While milk can be bought in plastic cartons, North Street still offer it in traditional glass pint bottles, which makes for a completely different taste. ‘After a while plastic contaminates milk, so it genuinely tastes nicer from a glass bottle,’ explains Hamish. The dairy reuses the bottles and waste is kept to a minimum, making it the most sustainable, and delicious, way to have milk.