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Laverstoke owner cites soaring costs as cause for buffalo dairy closure

Posted: 17 January 2024

By Patrick McGuigan

Jody Scheckter

Pioneering organic buffalo mozzarella producer Laverstoke Park Farm has closed down due to “unprecedented levels of cost increases”.

The Hampshire-based buffalo farm and dairy, owned by ex-racing driver Jody Scheckter, was closed on 31 December. In a statement the company said that its energy costs had more than doubled in the past year.

It added: “We have tried to diversify by making new products, such as our buffalomi and buffeta, changing milking patterns, reducing mozzarella production days, and generally making efficiencies everywhere we could. However, as a consequence of the significant increases in costs, a reduction in milk volumes, and the additional capital investment required for future proofing, the very difficult and sad decision has been made to close down our buffalo farming and dairy manufacturing.”

As FFD went to press, the company was looking to sell its herd of buffalo. Its composting facility will continue to operate as before, as will the annual CarFest event, which raises over £1 million every year for UK children’s charities.

Laverstoke, which supplied Waitrose and Riverford, was a pioneer of biodynamic and organic farming. It first started making mozzarella in 2009 – the first British company to make the cheese at scale in the UK. Today there are several other buffalo mozzarella producers in the UK, including Buffalicious in Somerset and The Buffalo Farm in Fife, while the Newt in Somerset also plans to make mozzarella at a new dairy in Castle Cary.

This article first appeared in the January-February 2024 edition of Fine Food Digest .