Investment banker turned farmer Alex Rawe tells Joanna Davis why she is so happy to be making ultra-healthy yoghurt in the north Dorset countryside


The life Alex Rawe lives now couldn't be further away from her previous existence.

She used to battle hordes of commuters making her way to her office in the City of London - where she could work up to 100 hours a week as an investment banker.

Alex now steps outside her front door and breathes in the fresh air of rural Dorset and the only sound she hears is the mooing of a happy herd of cows.

Alex, 30, moved to Dorset four years ago, trading in her career as an investment banker to work on a dairy farm making yoghurt.

The move was motivated by more than a change from the rat race - Alex met farmer Dan Miller when visiting her grandparents, who had retired to Dorset.

Dan is the third generation of a dairy farming family at Crib House Farm, at Stalbridge, near Sturminster Newton.

Love soon blossomed between the pair and Alex eventually traded in her life in the big smoke for countryside living.

The pair now run The Dorset Dairy Company from the farm, where they make natural yoghurt - termed as 'Dorset's answer to Greek yoghurt'.

"I moved to Dorset in 2015 much to my father's suspicion," Alex said.

"He was very surprised that a financially independent child had moved to Dorset. But he's seen the light now!

"The lifestyle here is very different, in the city I used to work for sometimes 100 hours a week and although I can work very long hours here, the difference is I really like what I'm doing."

Dan and Alex have created Dorset Strained Yoghurt - the lowest sugar yoghurt available on the market.

The ethos of their business is that natural, unprocessed food with a clear provenance is the best and healthiest kind of food. Three litres of fresh milk goes into every litre of yoghurt.

Alex said: "One of the reasons we started the company is because Dan wanted to do something with his milk.

"We've managed to get the process right to have just one per cent sugar in it. Yoghurt has a bad reputation for sugar content but ours is a low sugar product because of our process."

There are just two ingredients in Dorset Strained Yoghurt - milk and live bio cultures. For every litre of yoghurt, the process starts with over three litres of milk and after adding carefully selected cultures (including probiotics), it is strained using traditional methods to create a thick, creamy texture packed with protein.

The Dorset Dairy Company currently offers two products, whole milk Dorset strained yoghurt and fat free Dorset strained yoghurt. It is priced at around £2.95 for 500g.

"People have been asking when we're going to add flavours, but as soon as we do that we're going to have to add sugar," Alex said.

She added: "And then it would be hard to keep our ethos. But we do want to grow and increase our product base and be able to do that in keeping with our philosophy."

The pair started making their own butter in December and may look at developing this area or look into making cheese.

Alex and Dan have received support from their bank NatWest on their journey to build and grown their business.

Chris Curtis, NatWest director of business banking for Dorset, said: “We’re so delighted with the success that Alex and Dan have achieved through their hard work, creativity and innovation.

"They are such a great partnership and it’s been wonderful as a bank to have supported them on their journey. They have a great product, but equally as important a great ethos to their business, which has been key to their success. Supporting rural businesses is hugely important to us as a bank, which is why we employ a dedicated team of agriculture specialist relationship managers to help farming businesses diversify and grow.”

The Dorset Dairy Company have taken on three part-time workers and have got their yoghurt onto the shelves of luxury stores Fortnum and Mason and Harrods. The business is a real family affair with Dan's mother also offering her assistance.

"When we started it was all hands on and now we're in a position where we've got staff to do things, leaving me the chance to do more things like marketing," Alex said.

Alex is very proud of the firm's unique Instagram feed, into which she injects some unique 'dad joke' humour about Dorset farm life and informs followers about farming practices.

The couple are proud that they've used local businesses to help them develop their brand - Poole-based Gemma Goodyer designed the company logo and Luke Lench of Poundbury did the firm's photography and website.

Although former city girl Alex dislikes cloudy and rainy days on the farm, she is fully embracing the Dorset lifestyle. She has two labradors, Willow and Juniper, an Aga oven and is passionate about making sloe gin.

Outside of running the business, Alex and Dan recently tied the knot and have been busy renovating a house.

Alex said: "We bought a house on the top of a hill. We love the area and it's lovely looking out over the rolling hills.

"I've only recently discovered that I have some relatives buried in the churchyard in Marnhull, which is such a coincidence as my grandparents randomly moved to Hinton St Mary in Dorset to retire.

"There's a nice circularity to it."

The Dorset Dairy Company, Crib House Farm, Stalbridge, Sturminster Newton, Dorset, DT10 2RT 01258 820 127 Instagram: @thedorsetdairyco Facebook: TheDorsetDairyCo Twitter: @DorsetDairyCo Website: