OUR FARM & DAIRY
Hardwicke Farm is at the base of the Severn Valley in view of the Cotswold hills. It is a picturesque landscape of traditionally rotated and farmed pasture, intermingled with woodland, oak trees and endless ancient hedgerows.
A habitat for wildlife
Routed in tradition, our farm provides a wonderful habitat for wildlife which flourishes alongside our herds. Amongst our residents, we have countless buzzards, finches, songbirds, swallows, woodpeckers, and many beautiful barn owls. Living alongside these creatures reminds us daily of the importance of respecting the interaction between farming practices and countryside food chains. Their presence proves that our farming, our Ladies and the natural wildlife can live in perfect harmony.
An obsession for soil
The tradition also extends into our care of the soil, we cultivate the soil to provide the best naturally sustainable farmland through rotation and integration rather than pesticides and herbicides. From organic compost to subtle changes in our activities based on the weather, this respect produces a soil packed with life and biodiversity. Our permanent meadows along the canal are never ploughed, the rest is grass and white and red clover leys that we grow in rotation for 2-4 years. The white is used for grazing and the red is used to produce winter feed.
Totally traceable for a better taste
This may seem like a lot of attention to detail, however we believe that the care we give to our soil has a direct relationship to our integration with nature, the happiness and health of our ladies and the quality and taste of our totally traceable organic milk.
DAIRY AND ON FARM PROCESSING
Our on farm dairy allows us to have produce on shelf within 4 hours
Our on-farm dairy not only allows us to have our produce on-shelf within 4 hours, it also enables us to create beautiful natural flavours and retain total control over our products at every stage. Milk is incredibly fragile, to make our award-winning products it is very important it is damaged as little as possible and treated not as ‘the White Stuff’ but as a very special product that a huge amount of effort goes into.
Why we do not Homogenise our produce
We do not homogenise our milk because we want our milk to be as natural as possible and taste amazing!
Homogenisation was developed to benefit the milk processor not the consumer, whereas pasteurisation was developed to protect consumers against pathogenic bacteria. Pasteurisation makes it safe, whereas homogenisation makes it boring! It is homogenising that makes milk taste bland and not full of flavour as it should do. Being an inherently short life product creates problems when you are trying to shift large volumes of milk many miles, to many different factories, and then onto shops, as is now commonplace in the mainstream supply chain in large dairies. But we have no need for shelf life extension as our products are bottled onsite and are on-shelf within 4 hours of leaving our ladies.
Homogenising reduces the fat particles, by forcing the milk through very fine holes at extremely high pressure to such a fine extent they no longer separate out. The process ensures the milk lasts longer and is why most supermarket milk is very white in colour not a natural creamy one, and also why there is no cream ‘line’ in the milk. It also means it does not absorb smell as readily, this is one of the main signals that dairy produce is past its best. ‘’Homogenisation makes digestion almost impossible and is a major reason why some people cannot tolerate cows milk’’, it is not the milk itself but the homogenisation process (a huge amount of people who think they are intolerant to milk are actually fine with ours!).
Milk Processing - Pasteurisation ‘v’ Homogenisation
There is a huge amount of confusion between Pasteurisation and Homogenisation
Pasteurisation makes milk totally safe, whereas homogenisation makes it bland, destroys the flavour and makes it very difficult to digest. Homogenisation was developed to benefit the milk processor by extending shelf life by up to 3 times through destroying its molecular structure under extreme pressure, but it has a multitude of negative side effects.
Pasteurisation (heating the milk above 72 degrees for 15 seconds) was developed as a safeguard to protect consumers against pathogenic bacteria that naturally occur in all milk, potentially to a problematic level. Prior to pasteurisation being commonplace, serious poisoning due to Salmonella, E.coli, Campylobacter was common. It is argued that Pasteurisation has saved more lives than any other process ever discovered as it eliminates these bacteria.
Because our milk is not homogenised, and because we bottle and pasteurise it gently onsite ourselves whilst it is super fresh, I am confident our milk cannot taste any better. I cannot taste the difference between raw milk and our breakfast milk, and I hope we do our Ladies proud by bringing the wonderful milk they give us to shelves in its tastiest, but safest form.