We consider ourselves to be extraordinarily lucky to be running a farm in such a beautiful part of the country and to have had the opportunities that the business has given us. For us, it’s all about the cheese!! We want to make the best tasting cheese, with lots of depth and complexity all of the time, so an awful lot of our energy is spent concentrating on this. We both love cheese of all types and are fascinated by what differentiates the extraordinary from the ordinary.
Our cheese is the embodiment of us, our farm, our staff and everything we do on the farm so it is particularly important that we make every effort to produce the best cheese we can because it represents us and everything we do. In addition to this, we feel very strongly that we have a responsibility to manage the farm and the business as a whole to have as little negative impact on the environment as possible.
We have a number of renewable projects on the farm including a 275kwh wind turbine, 50kwh of solar panels, a straw pellet boiler for heating the milk using straw that we have baled ourselves and a ground source heat pump to heat the office and cutting room. We generate about 500 Mwh of electricity through wind power and solar each year and this is more than we currently consume, meaning we are net exporters of electricity. In addition, we have cut our annual consumption of oil with the introduction of the straw pellet boiler by about 20,000 litres/year.
As part of our land management we also ensure that we only cut our hedges in a three year cycle. This can look slightly wild, but definitely helps to promote wildlife on the farm We feed the cows, as much as possible, from the crops we grow on the farm. These include, grass silage, whole crop wheat, field beans and wheat. For the additional protein the cows need, we source predominantly UK grown products that are non-organic.
We use very few chemicals on the farm and only when there is no alternative. The impact on wildlife is huge with a vibrant insect life and a more diverse range of flora and fauna, such as Skylarks, English Partridge and Brown Hares. Avoiding the use of nitrogen, pesticides and fertilisers can only be a positive thing. Grass, as either silage or eaten fresh, forms a large part of our cows diet, so the fewer chemicals that are used on it, the better. We use good old-fashioned cow muck to replace the nutrients that the grass takes from the soil. Clover is also planted within the pasture and is an excellent natural way of fixing nitrogen within the soil. It takes over a tonne of oil to produce a tonne of nitrogen so by removing nitrogen from our farm we are reducing the impact to the environment.