A FARM yoghurt business is tripling its workforce to boost its production using a 1,000-year-old recipe after securing major investment.

Hesper Farm Dairies Ltd in Skipton, is the only UK farm to make the nutritious Skyr yoghurt from a ninth century Icelandic recipe using British milk.

The firm, which already supplies northern stores including several Morrisons, is set for national growth after securing major entrepreneurial investment.

Six new jobs will be created in order to boost production after two Yorkshire entrepreneurs became investors in a deal arranged by York-based accountants and business advisers, Garbutt & Elliott, and the firm's partner, Tony Farmer.

Hesper Farm has been producing Skyr for four years after the family farm’s third generation, Sam Moorhouse, visited Iceland in 2015 to learn the ancient Viking recipe after finding no one in Britain then made the thick, creamy natural yoghurt.

Hesper Farm’s Skyr yoghurt, made in its purpose-built diary, using milk from its award-winning pedigree Holstein Friesian herd, has been produced by only three people but is already supplied to 110 northern stores, including all Booths, and several Morrisons, supermarkets as well as farm shops and Harrods, London.

Managing director of Hesper Farm Dairy Ltd, Mr Moorhouse, said: “Tony and his team have been integral in positioning us for the next stage in our development.

"We are grateful for their expertise and the new investors who have placed faith in us.

"The investment, and setting up an accounting system, enables us to pursue a national supermarket account.

"Our long-term aim is to make Hesper Farm the top British Skyr brand and to introduce other innovative dairy products."

He added: "We are creating six new jobs and will make about 55,000kg of Skyr this year compared with around 9,000kg in our first 12 months.”

Skyr yoghurt is made in a 24-hour labour-intensive process, with minimal mechanisation by incubating skimmed milk with live active cultures and straining away the whey.

Each pot uses four times as much milk as traditional plain yoghurt, making it thick and creamy. The only sweetness is natural.

Garbutt & Elliot partner Mr Farmer said: “Sam has a great natural product and the new investors are supporting an innovative UK food product with huge sales potential.

"We are excited to be applying our food sector experience to assist the growth of the business.”

Lead investor, founder and chairman of Elland-based BCA Group, Wim Batist, said: “While Sam had financial help from his parents to set up, he needed a lot more to reach where he wants to be.

"His business has potential to become a multi-million pound operation, especially with his strict quality control.”