A word from our Founders

  • "If you want pampered, pasture fed only cows, farms teeming with native wildlife, amazing taste and sustainable production - Hollis Mead is where you shop."

    Charlotte and Oliver Hemsley

Our history

Land ownership document
750BC - 1066AD
Iron Age, Roman and Saxon Dorset

The area of Dorset where Hollis Mead Organic Dairy is based has a long history of occupation going back to the Iron Age in 750BC. It’s chalk and limestone ridges and clay rich valleys have long provided a fertile and abundant natural ecosystem where agriculture has thrived since the Saxon occupation of Britain. The Saxon settlement of ‘Coriscombe’ was recorded in the Doomsday Book and when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1536, a diverse landscape of independent family farms emerged that has shaped our region of Dorset ever since.

Thomas Hollis
1720 - 1774
Thomas Hollis

The name ‘Hollis Mead, comes from our most notable resident, Thomas Hollis, who in the eighteenth century inherited large land estates across the Corscombe area, including Urless Farm where Hollis Mead is based today. Hollis was a philosopher and a philanthropist and along with his love of nature he was dedicated to promoting civil and religious freedom in England as well as the distribution of academic books to libraries throughout Europe. It was Thomas Hollis III who was known for donating money and books to Harvard University where the Hollis Hall is dedicated to him. Harvard’s library catalogue is called ‘Hollis’ after their benefactor.

Thomas Hollis was a revolutionary thinker, active philosopher, and great advocate for the natural British countryside – a disrupter even – and it is his legacy that we continue today. When he died, on 1 January 1774 walking the lands of Urless Farm, he had left instructions that he was to be buried alongside his horse and his resting place is a well-kept secret by a few privileged people on our team today.

Farm House
1998
Oliver & Charlie Hemsley

In 1998 Oliver and Charlie Hemsley bought a small farm and some dilapidated buildings called Urless. Having originally been the site of a Dorset longhouse, in 2007, Urless Farm was enlarged by the Hemsleys and a walled garden built alongside it that now grows an array of organic fruits, vegetables and herbs. Their vision was to become self-sufficient and reconnect to the original way of farming in Britain that was instigated in the Georgian era (brought to life by George III, known as ‘Farmer George’, for his love of agriculture).

Since then, Oliver & Charlie have expanded the Hollis Mead estate from the original 90 acres to a large farm housing a community of people and animals, living and working in harmony together. The farm went organic in 2018 and has subsequently become certified pasture fed which is in keeping with our mission of producing food in conjunction with nature and natural cycles.

Farmer milking cows
2020
Hollis Mead Organic Dairy

Founded in 2020 with a vision to counteract current negative perception around the industrialisation of dairy farming, Hollis Mead’s mission is to help people fall back in love with natural dairy and to produce pure goodness you can taste. From our 100% pasture-fed, organic milk, we produce a glittering array of award winning, natural dairy products including cream, yoghurts, fine cheeses, butters, crème fraiche, cottage cheese and cultured kefirs.

We certified organic and pasture-fed right from the outset and are today the only dairy and creamery of scale in the UK to be OF&G and Pasture For Life accredited. We seek very high standards of animal welfare, nature, and biodiversity on the farm. Our cows just eat the organic grass and wildflowers which grow on the farm. As a result, we produce much less milk per cow than the average industrial dairy farm, but the taste, quality, and positive impact on our cows is noticeable to everyone who consumes our products.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
2021
River Cottage Cultured Dairy

In 2021 we decided to partner with celebrity chef and food activist Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and his team at River Cottage to develop a range of organic, cultured.

Kefirs. Hugh chose to work with us because the quality of our pasture-fed dairy was, in his eyes, unchallenged. We support the River Cottage ethos of Food to Inspire Change and the partnership is one of shared values and vision.

The kefir is made on the farm exclusively using our organic cows milk using 28 different live cultures.

Hollis Mead delivery driver
2023 and beyond

Founded in 2020 with a vision to counteract current negative perception around the industrialisation of dairy farming, Hollis Mead’s mission is to help people fall back in love with natural dairy and to produce pure goodness you can taste. From our 100% pasture-fed, organic milk, we produce a glittering array of award winning, natural dairy products including cream, yoghurts, fine cheeses, butters, crème fraiche, cottage cheese and cultured kefirs.

We certified organic and pasture-fed right from the outset and are today the only dairy and creamery of scale in the UK to be OF&G and Pasture For Life accredited. We seek very high standards of animal welfare, nature, and biodiversity on the farm. Our cows just eat the organic grass and wildflowers which grow on the farm. As a result, we produce much less milk per cow than the average industrial dairy farm, but the taste, quality, and positive impact on our cows is noticeable to everyone who consumes our products.

The proof is in the tasting

  • "This is such beautiful butter - the flavour is fresh, clean, uncloying, and we literally couldn't stop eating it"

    Guild of Fine Food

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