Chariots of Ice

Our new freezer van!

Our new freezer van!

So, here it is at last –

our new freezer vehicle!  It’s not the one we’d originally intended to buy but is actually significantly better (& cost about £9k more – ouch).  Whilst not brand new it’s only had one apparently careful owner &  sports an unusually low mileage.  In terms of temperature it can cover a very broad spectrum; so we can carry anything from ambient to chilled produce or (naturally) gelato, as required; going right down to a positively frosty -30°C!  So a handy vehicle to have.

Additionally important is that it has a single-phase standby facility which means it can act as an emergency or overspill freezer, if needs be.  Whilst this might not initially appear to be a critical consideration – & many similar-type vehicles don’t have it – we decided the extra investment would be worthwhile; particularly as at present there’s a fault with the door on Food Centre Wales’ main dairy freezer – it keeps popping open but without tripping the alarm, which is worrying as if it should happen over a warm weekend we could lose our entire stock – £1000s’ worth.  Also their freezer unit has been labouring, alarmingly with the fans icing up; so at least this way if something did happen we could salvage the majority – quickly, too.  Because although we could claim on FCW’s insurance for any losses incurred that’s not the issue: it takes time to build up a decent stock when you’re only permitted to produce for a couple of days per week; especially as with the summer season rapidly approaching we have to make the most of what we can get.  Also the standby facility is also very handy for larger shows & festivals; as you can carry a significant amount of stock without worrying about running out.

This van is also very comfortable to drive, & handles like a car (although the growl of the freezer unit kicking in, takes some getting used to!).  We were considering a smaller vehicle  – about the sixze of a ‘Postman Pat’ van; however once they’re fully insulated they have an extremely limited carrying capacity & at least we’ll ‘grow into’ this one rather than rapidly ‘growing out’ of it & having the worry of Yet More Investment only a little further, down the line. 

The only ‘downside’ is that decent freezer vehicles are few & far between on the second-hand market.  Chiller vehicles on the other hand are readily available & I do know some people would opt for the cheaper alternative, storing ice cream in insulated boxes in the back; however not only is it technically in breach of Food Hygiene regulations there is also the continual concern regarding degradation of stock quality – & of course, you don’t have that gem of a standby freezer should either yours pack up nor short-term frozen storage at shows.   But being so hard-to-come-by we had to collect this little beauty from a refrigerated vehicle specialist based in Poulton-Le-Fylde near Blackpool; which for us is a good five-and-a-half hour drive away across the dramatically scenic, winding  mountain roads of Snowdonia. 

On the way home we paused for a meal at a little place we know, on the outskirts of beautiful Bala Lake; which made the journey a bit more tolerable.  As it was our first outing Tony drove the van & I took the car, as I wasn’t used to driving a larger vehicle (& he of course, is used to ‘driving’ something far bigger – with wings on!) – however I’ll have to take the wheel ere long I suppose as another of my ‘many hats’ is that of delivery driver!  But with its smart new livery (courtesy of our patient-&-talented designer, Jamie from Action Graffix) we’ll certainly add style to the local tarmac!

Side view: watch out, Wales...!

Side view: watch out, Wales...!

All-in-all it’s been a busy week with another hugely informative True Marketing course on Public Relations, held over in Abergavenny (which also generated another impromptu trade inquiry – fantastic) & a trip to the coast to restock with straw – where we also discovered we can get bales of sweet, fresh lucerne & pea straw; which are highly nutritious & will be of significant benefit to our goats’ diet.  There was a single bale of lucerne left, which we bought to whet the Milkforce ladies’ appetites; whilst it looks tough & horrible it smells divine & the goats polished it off like a school of starving piranha – so it must be good!  Only the best for our girls.

And at least it’s not raining….much.

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About LittleFfarm Dairy

The LittleFfarm Dairy Team: Jo - Goat farmer & Gelatiere Artigianale, plus General Dogsbody; Tony - Airline Pilot & part-time Herd Manager, Product Taster, Accounts Secretary, Handyman etc!
This entry was posted in Animals, April 2009, Dairy, Diary, Farming, Food, Goats, Ice Cream, Life, Livestock, Smallholding, Wales. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Chariots of Ice

  1. katie says:

    A nice- looking vehicle. It sounds a sensible choice to go for the bigger size with the extra capacity.
    It’s been miserably rainy here and the goats haven’t been out of their house all day and are now telling me they are BORED and HUNGRY. Time for tea and a cuddle, I think!

    • LittleFfarm Dairy says:

      “Same here – disgusting weather with the heatwave a distant memory. The goats are thoroughly fed up & clearly want to be outside; but there’s nothing I can do. Milk yield drops when they’re fractious – not good! But as you say lots of cuddles seem to help…”

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