Acorn Dairy win Best Organic Dairy award
05 September 2012
This year’s Organic Food Awards feature a special dairy award for Best Organic Dairy, with Acorn Dairy of Darlington taking the hotly contested prize. The award was based on extra criteria including farm management, conservation, animal welfare and community involvement, as well as taste.
Acorn not only outperformed other group and individual finalists, but their story and business model provides inspiration for farmers and consumers alike as they constantly adapt and respond to their customers and the market.
While all Soil Association certified dairies necessarily adhere to extremely high standards of animal welfare, Acorn’s exemplary practices were highlighted for particular praise. Central to this is a high level of time spent with their animals, ensuring any problems can be caught and treated early.
The farm has also been recognised for their commitment to biodiversity and energy conservation. Working closely with RSPB volunteers, the farm now boasts over 70 bird specieswww.soilassociation.org/awards/organicfoodawards/bestorganicdairy and a 16 acre reversion meadow, which forms part their Stewardship scheme.
The farm’s milking parlour is fitted with solar panels and a smart energy system generates hot water for the parlour wash out. Autumn 2012 will hopefully also see Acorn become the first farm to have its own wind turbine, which will supply directly the farm’s energy needs.
In addition to striving for farming excellence through high animal welfare and energy efficiency, providing local food for local people at competitive prices is integral to Acorn’s entire farming philosophy.
Acorn Dairy Director Caroline Bell said:
“We see the benefits of organic dairy farming every day – a relaxed, happy herd grazing pastures grown from healthy soils, surrounded by abundant hedges which support over 70 bird species. Sharing the benefits of organic milk with our customers through farm news snippets every week is something we can offer along with a great tasting, pure milk. There is no doubt- organic dairy farming benefits all stakeholders- consumers, wildlife and cows.”
Chief judge and food writer Lynda Brown said:
"Acorn Farm is a gem - the kind of local farming enterprise that makes your heart jump for joy. Their farming practices, their commitment to care for the environment, animal welfare, and local, and their obvious dedication to their customers is inspirational. Acorn produces high-quality, delicious dairy products at competitive prices, and it is an outstanding example of why family farms are so important."
Commenting on the awards, Geetie Singh, judge and owner of the Duke of Cambridge organic pub, London said: “The Organic Food Awards are a celebration of great organic food that is produced sustainably and to the highest welfare and environmental standards, food that has top quality provenance and an interesting story to tell.”