Farm Life

Meet the family

Jon and Lynne Perkin took on the tenancy at Old Parsonage Farm, on the Dartington Estate, in March 2015. Moving in with their two boys Alex and Matt, farm Collie Jim and Jack Russels Trixie, Shandy and FizzWizz. 

They brought their initial herd of goatlings and took on the management of the Sharpham Jersey herd that year.

"Dartington Dairy" was launched in 2016, working with a local specialist to make ice cream from their first batch of goats milk.

What did Jon and Lynne do before goats ice cream? They were married in 2000 and moved to Berkshire to manage an organic farm, before obtaining their own tenancy in Cumbria.

They diversified the business and created their own on-farm butchery, selling organic farm meats through local outlets and farmers markets, ultimately creating the first meat CSA in the country. At the end of the tenancy, Jon and Lynne sold the business and moved south to manage another organic farm in Wiltshire, before applying for and getting a 20 year Farm Business Tenancy at the beautiful Dartington Hall estate.

Excited by the opportunities that they felt were available at Old Parsonage Farm, through diversifying away from more traditional farming practices, they developed the idea of starting a goat dairy, selling the milk and other products locally and directly to the customer. Old Parsonage Farm was originally built for this purpose and used to run a pioneering herd of South Devon cows, by renewing the old processing building they would be resurrecting an original Elmhirst idea.

For Jon and Lynne it is also important that the farm provides public access and education around farming, enabling people to understand the farm environment and where their food comes from. Currently this is through farm open days and the different 'Milking' and 'Farmer for the Day' experiences on offer.

In future they hope to open a farm classroom and create a care farm at Old Parsonage, utilising animal assisted therapy, green exercise and mindfulness to assist in the treatment of anxiety and depression. 

Conservation and biodiversity have always been important to me. Using sprays and chemicals never sat easily with me, so evolving into organics just made sense. Thistles, nettles – Dad never let me spray them – you never knew what it would do to old pastures full of herbs. Better to put up with nettles than risk damaging 40 year old pasture.
— Farmer, Jon Perkin



The Perkin Family

The Perkin Family

Lynne Perkin

Born on a small holding in Aldershot. Lynne grew up working on farms, where she learnt to break horses for livestock handling.

Jon Perkin

Born and raised on a dairy farm in West Devon, that has been in Jon's family for over 600 years. Jon has travelled and farmed in many locations around the UK and Europe, including Greece, where he learnt about milking sheep and goats.