Judith and Clive Freane - Brown Cow Organics
Meet Judith and Clive from Brown Cow Organics
How did you get started?
My husband Clive and I were given the fantastic opportunity to take over Perridge farm from my father, some 20 years ago and consists of four farms joined together to make up 480 organic acres on the South of the Mendip Hills in Somerset and is the home of Brown Cow Organics including our own on-site organic yoghurt production, organic butchery facilities and office.
I took over the Guernsey dairy herd originally in the late 90's from my Father; born, raised and grazed on our organic acres our herd, they are all descendants of the herd established in 1957; Guernsey cows are today becoming a rare breed.
I married Clive who shared my passion for good food; together we have developed our farm into the multi award winning farm and food producer it is today. When my father retired and with the arrival of two daughters, my dairy duties were relinquished to Clive and my interest became the beef side.
It was the BSE crisis that really made us think about what was happening in food production, we felt that organic was the only way to produce safe healthy food. Our growing children and what effects of long term exposure to artificial chemicals and fertilisers would have on their health reinforced this view. So we converted Perridge Farm to organic under the strict UKFROS regulations adhered to by the Soil Association.
We are passionate about the ethics, quality, provenance and sustainability of our organic yoghurt and beef, we firmly believe that our organic produce is a true reflection of the high level of nutrition and animal welfare standards we have adopted on our farm, of which we are very proud.
Perridge Farm has vast range of wildlife habitats; woodland, wildflower meadows and some areas are designated county wildlife sites. There is a wealth of wildlife enjoying our organic land; deer, badgers, rare breeds of bats, butterflies and other innumerable insects, rabbits, hares, foxes and smaller mammals, all living in balanced harmony. Our farm is an ornithologists dream, with heron and woodpeckers, finches, tits and thrushes and buzzards circling, plus the blue spark of an occasional kingfisher along the stream.
We have 100 Guernsey dairy cows all descendents of the original 1957 herd - Guernsey cows are more commonly known for the rich A2 beta casein protein creamy milk that they produce. Our Guernsey’s rich protein whole milk is full of flavour, nutrients and naturally low in sugar. They produce whole milk full of flavour as they are not pushed beyond their natural ability to produce milk. Consequently, and because of their largely grass based diet, they live for many healthy years (the average life of a conventional dairy cow is only 4 years).
Each year our cows give birth to a calf that is either reared to enter our dairy herd or reared for our award-winning beef enterprise - we never cull our beef calves. We also grow organic cereal crops in rotation and these are then fed to our animals during the winter months.
The nutrition of our dairy and beef herd is paramount to us, we analyse the soil in every field and each crop grown, constantly monitoring the cows' diet. Believing that nutrition (and consequently human health) starts with the soil; we carried out our own independent analysis proving that our organic yogurt (against other leading yogurt brands) and organic beef (compared to non-organic) is nutritionally outstanding, being rich in Omega 3s and other trace elements (it is very high in Zinc and Selenium).
Sustainable Energy and Recycling
We installed solar panels on the roofs of the farm buildings in January 2015, on the South, East and West facing roofs to maximise as much energy from the sun from early morning until sunset. We believe utilising roof space for PV panels is far better than placing them on farm land that can otherwise produce food for the population. After 365 days the panels generated 27900 KW of energy, ALL of the energy has been utilised for our organic yogurt manufacture and chillers in both the dairy unit and butchery unit; the sun has powered all the machines at the farm that make our organic yogurt - it heats the pasteurisers in the morning, chills the fridges during the day and cools the organic yogurt in the evening.
This benefits the environment as we do not rely heavily on importing electricity for the production of our produce. We also compost our used paper and cardboard, where after 6 months or so it provides valuable nutrients for our farm land.
Hear from some of our other organic heroesRead their stories
In this section...
- Meet Our Farming Heroes
- Meet Our Food & Drink Heroes
- Meet Our Beauty & Wellbeing Heroes
- Meet Our Fashion & Textiles Heroes
- Jonathan Smith of Scilly Organics
- Abi Weeds, co-founder of Odylique
- Jane Shepherd, founder of Pigeon Organic
- Stephanie McIntosh - Fou Furnishings
- Cathi Pawson - Zaytoun
- Rhug Organic