A few months ago I was approached to partner with AHBD Dairy to learn more about Dairy Farm, I must admit I was delighted and keen to get involved, since my maternal grandparents had a small farm back home in Italy and I have early memories of my grandma patiently milking one of the cows for us to enjoy a glass of milk. My parents knew where all the food we ate came from, mostly from my grandparents' farm or my dad's own garden. Nowadays, it is even more important to be a conscious buyer and understand fully where the products you buy come from. Therefore, I was keen to meet Angus and visit his dairy farm to learn directly how it is run, on the day I also had a chance to speak to his daughter, Rosie, and his son, Henry. Angus' farm, together with all other UK dairy farms, is part of a global network with 240 million people directly or indirectly employed on 133 million dairy farms around the world.
I left London early in the morning on a very sunny day looking forward to a day out in the countryside, away from the hustle and bustle of London. The first thing that got my attention when I arrived to Angus' farm was the honesty shop- a strong link to the community of the town where the farm is located, the family had set the shop up since last year as many people were stopping by to buy their products. And it is just perfect: a cabin filled with delicious ice cream, fresh milk, eggs and many more. I had a salted caramel ice cream and it was delicious, it put me in such a good mood. Angus proudly speaks about the farm and how he runs it with the help of his family, both Rosie and Henry have come back home after finishing their studies to work on the farm. It is currently work in process, as they are about to move the milking parlour from its current location to the newly built one, this is just one of the many changes made to the farm since taking over in 1986. It was a very traditional British farm when they moved in, furthermore, there were 7 farms in the area (now they are the only farm remaining) they not only had cows but sheep too, however they decided to only focus in having cows and also adapting a New Zealand type of farming, instead of a British one.
We drove to one of the fields to say hello to the cows, who were roaming free busy eating grass, which is their staple diet, The cows are cross breed, which means they are healthier andstronger, and, as you can see from the photos, every single cow (and calf) has her own name, Meg, Zara and Samoa are only a few names of the ones I have met. Life on a farm is hard with many early mornings and long hours, I know it very well from talking to my grandma, “It is a way of life” says Rosie whilst we walk back to the car from the field. Angus and his family are passionate about their work and want to bring only the best products- and they do: their ice cream is sold in over 100 restaurats, shops and cafes, as far as the Peak District. There are also so many links to the community: 10 years ago they built a cowpath with recycled railways slippers for the cows to walk from the farm to the fields, which is also used by locals to walk their dogs, school organises regular visits to the farm, a local bee keeper uses the farm to keep 20 hives and the shed has been used many times for birthday parties and weddings. Angus and his family are always looking at new ways to improve the business, they recently added clotted cream to the their line- I had a generous helping when they invited me in for tea and scones.
I am glad I had the opportunity to visit Angus’ farm and to see how a dairy farm operates in the UK, it has made me more confident to buy dairy products in the supermarket.
Disclaimer: this post has been written in partnership with AHDB, views are my own.