Meet our farmers

Our farmers put care before commerce

In a 21st century food industry dedicated to supplying the demand for ever increasing choice, something taken for granted for centuries has been lost; simply knowing where the food you eat comes from, and how it was produced.

At the Traditional Cheese Dairy, we devote as much care and effort into finding and supporting the right local producers, as we do when physically creating our cheese. All our farmers put care before commerce, allowing their animals to roaming their pastures grazing and browsing on natural forage during the course of long contented lives, and all rear the young males born to their herds and flocks rather than disposing of them (the standard practice amongst large commercial farms).

These like-minded suppliers and their livestock provide the underlying provenance, that crucial essence that helps to define our finished produce, so we’d like to tell you a little more about them.

The Franklins at Lullings Farm

Set within the picturesque village of Cuckfield in West Sussex, the dairy herd at Lullings Farm on the Board Hill Estate has been a central part of the Franklins family for nearly three generations. Their passion for providing the highest quality produce echoes our own, and like us, the Franklins understand that this can only be derived from contented, and healthy, pasture-fed animals.

 

Weather permitting, the cattle graze from March until the end of October, on a rotational paddock system, and are allowed in the field at every opportunity, allowing maximum natural grazing to improve their milk. During the winter months the cows are housed in spacious well ventilate barns, each having their own bed equipped with rubber matting and deep straw, and large outdoor loafing areas, where they are able to enjoy the winter sun.

“We know our all cows as individuals, “ explains Julie Franklin “and the welfare of each of them is our main concern. To ensure the health and wellbeing of every animal, diets are worked out for each individual cow with a nutritionist.”

Lullings is run as a ‘closed’ herd, meaning no other animals are brought into the herd, which is served by the farm’s pedigree Aberdeen Angus Bull, ‘Boysie’. Thanks to the breed this results in small calves and easy first calvings for the heifers.

The farm is annually inspected and audited by PAI (Product Authentication) and is deservedly Red Tractor Farm Assured in Dairy.

The Threadgolds – Boydells Dairy Farm

For years this small family-run dairy farm in north Essex has been providing us with raw ewes’ milk for years to make our award-winning un-pressed cheese The Lord Of The Hundreds.

Today Boydells Dairy farm, run by Kiley Threadgold who took over from father Roy, operates on the simple premise that farmers should care for their animals as their most precious asset, and that in doing so, animals will naturally respond by producing higher and better quality yields.

The 300 ewes at the dairy are nurtured in just such a manner, spending as much of their time on pasture as possible, though for the winter months the early lambing flock are housed in open barns and fed on mainly home-produced forage, with their running water supply coming from springs in the adjacent field.

In the summer the ewes graze on pastures rich in clover with a session every few weeks on a field of chicory, which acts as a natural anthelmintic. During these months the farm is also opened to visitors, with school groups and members of the public welcomed on a tour of the farm designed to educate on the important benefits of natural and traditional farming practises.

“We believe that it is important that people, particularly children, understand about farming and where their food comes from,” says Kiley, whose family have been milking sheep her for the past 26 years.

However the traditional the dairy methods here, Boydells farm also embraces the future when it comes to beneficial sustainable technology, and recently invested in a new barn with a 16Kw solar PV system on the roof, as well as a rainwater harvesting system to reduce impact on the environment and produce most of the farm’s energy needs on site.