ABOUT OUR FAMILY
Rooted in Tradition
Hardwicke Farm is a gorgeous, timeless place of traditionally rotated and farmed pasture intermingled with woodland, oak trees, orchards and endless ancient hedgerows. We like to think that our livestock, wildlife and our farming all complement one another in a very harmonious, balanced way. Even though we have witnessed many agricultural changes, one thing has always remained constant, and that is our utmost respect for the cows that allow us to make our living and the land that allows us to care for them. We are the custodians of this timeless place alongside our ladies as our business partners.
We know ‘the Ladies’ all by name and we milk them personally every day to ensure they’re a happy, healthy bunch. Our milk, yogurt, buttermilk, kefir and cream leave our on farm dairy and within hours arrive on shop shelves, in restaurant kitchens, and on doorsteps nationwide, which means it really cannot be any fresher, and I'm confident cannot taste any better.
My Grampy John Vaughan came here in 1956 farming in a traditional, extensive way and working the land with horses. He brought with him his 3 cows, his ‘Ladies’, who were named after his tanks from the second world war-Bluebird Gypsy and Glow-worm (many of our herd today are descendants!).
My Dad Mike was then a small boy and grew up on the farm, as did my sister Sophie and I. An amazing childhood growing up alongside our family and animals. Some of my earliest memories are sitting in the milking parlour with my sister Sophie ,whilst mum and dad milked the cows. Always wanting to avoid intensive farming methods, my dad Mike continued his dads farming tradition before gaining official organic status in 2000 and I returned from Aberystwyth University in 2002.
It quickly became apparent that our farm and our small herd of ladies with names and personalities were not going to survive, unless we did something to make it sustainable as a business. Modern agriculture had no place for us at that time. We either had to become a more intensive, larger scale farm to keep up with the times, or do something drastic.
So we did.
Leap of Faith
Driven by respect and love for our farm, our beautiful ladies and our way of life, we set off on a mission-not really knowing what the future may bring. In our view, we had to make more of the beautiful organic milk we were already producing-rather than seeking to take more from the land or our ladies by becoming intensive. So we did something slightly unusual and started processing our own milk on site, tell the story of our ladies and our farm and create our own brand to do so. Converting a shed on our tenanted farm, we build a state-of-the-art processing facility-we could now keep total control over our ladies' beautiful milk. The next chapter was about to begin...
I’m not sure we ever dreamt what the next decade would hold. It has been an incredible journey producing super fresh organic dairy products and letting the natural flavours produced through our farming methods and wonderful ladies shine through. On our farm it is up to us to us to remain true to our traditional ways-to do what we have always done.Once our milk is in the dairy to be transformed into kefir, yoghurt,cream and cultured buttermilk. It is up to us to do justice to all the effort that has gone into it and let the flavours shine. The recognition of awards has been amazing-but the true judges will be our farm, teeming with wildlife, and wonderful ladies living alongside us each day.
I hope my Grampy would be very proud of us.