Organic dairy heaven

Lynda Brown - 11 April 2012

Shorthorn dairy cattle

Shorthorn dairy cows. Image reproduced by kind permission of the Shorthorn Society.

Me and my keffir have finally moved - yes it was utterly cathartic; yes, I ate a lot of organic chocolate (if only I had known about the latest award winning raw choc superfood, Pulsin Beyond Organic Bars); no, I'm never, ever, ever, moving again; and yes, of course I've moved to Stroud, or rather Box, a tiny village nearby.

Which is why yesterday finally caught me having a milkmaid moment walking to my local organic dairy, Woefuldane Dairy in the centre of Minchinhampton, swinging my very own mini milk churn to fill up with their delicious full fat organic milk straight from their Shorthorn cows. Cost? 90p a litre (try finding that in your supermarket). Plus I can buy their own butter, cheeses, cream, yoghurt and eggs. Needless to say I'm in organic dairy heaven.

The shop is really popular, a friendly place, not in the least bit precious or preachy. They also sell local ice cream made with their milk, local bread, cider, beer, and doughnuts which disappear quicker than you can blink. In short it serves the local community - and anyone who is visiting.*

It wouldn't be me if there wasn't a point to selfishly crowing over my good fortune. I know such shops are rare but it's essentials like bread, milk and eggs that drives people into supermarkets: local dairy outlets like these, whether organic or not, I believe are a major key to the revival of local shopping (and health: you get fresh milk, not stale processed milk). It's a question of them being there and us getting back into the habit. It probably also requires enlightened local councils and affordable start up initiatives (anyone in government listening?).

It's not just the ethics, lack of food miles, or social implications either. There's also the qustion of a fair deal for all concerned. We don't appreciate how much it takes to produce our daily pinta, or how dairy farmers do not earn enough for the amount of work involved in milk production. The shop is Woefulden's way of trying to solve this and means the customers get a fair price for properly fresh local quality food and they get a fair price for producing it. The re-fill option is a win win. Customers love it - the shop sells 10,000 litres of milk this way - and saves a pile of plastic to boot. And I haven't even mentioned the pleasure you get...

* Tues-Fri 9-1pm; 2-5pm; Sat 9-2pm. Tel: 01453 886 855

Lynda is an award-winning food writer and broadcaster, and keen advocate for organic living. She is author of several food books over the last twenty years including Planet Organic: Organic Living, The Cook's Garden, and The Modern Cook's Handbook, as well as writing The Preserving Book that was published in 2010 in association with the Soil Association. Lynda is an expert on food and nutrition and a seasoned broadcaster, regularly speaking on food and farming both on the radio and television.

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Elisabeth Winkler
22 April 2012 11:28

Your milkmaid moment sounds truly idyllic. Milk straight from the farm and zero-plastic = bliss.

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