In recent years, the dairy industry has had a challenging time with struggling milk prices and challenging conditions for dairies across our region. Yet we still associate milk as being a shopping basket staple.
The majority of households still purchase a pint alongside their loaf of bread and half a dozen eggs on a weekly, if not daily basis and with British dairy farmers producing approximately 11 billion litres of milk each year, it clearly continues to be a thriving industry.
Cornish-based Trewithen Dairy are keen to reinstate the value of milk with consumers, highlighting the time, care and attention spent on producing good quality dairy products. We visited their dairy in the beautiful Glynn Valley and spoke to owner, Bill Clarke, to learn about the importance of caring for the welfare of both cows and farmers, as well as encouraging an industry of quality-conscious people.
‘25 herds in 25 miles’
“This is a philosophy that has been the foundation of our business from the start. We celebrate the fact that we are lucky to have an abundance of farms to support and work with in such close proximity – this is a direct indication that the Cornish dairy industry is thriving.
It all started with a good friend down the road who had milk he needed to supply to a dairy. Offering to take on his milk was the start of many more local farms showing interest and before long we had a long list of quality farmers all within a 25 mile radius. It’s a sensible concept on every level, from an environmental, financial and practical perspective.
It’s exciting to not just work with longstanding farms of many generations but make alliances with new dairy farms being set up in the local area. Only this year we have started working with two new farms run by young and innovative families, supplying the dairy industry great milk.”
“Ultimately, if you have a supply chain full of people with the same ambition and integrity, it will result in a product with equal integrity and by having open lines of communication throughout the process, everything is traceable.
With so much conflicting information and news regarding provenance of our food, the dairy industry appreciates consumers need to be reassured. Having an extensive team of highly skilled and qualified members who work daily with our farmers, means the end product is everything you expect it to be. This results in a product that we are extremely proud of and our farmers are more than happy to promote.”
“First and most importantly, any good dairy will only work with good farmers. Individuals who care about the welfare of their cows and the environment, as well as the milk they supply us, are the ones the dairy industry should be wholeheartedly supporting.
We hand pick our farms who operate on the RSPCA’s Five Freedoms policy which ensures the cows are happy and healthy. Positive discussion is also encouraged, giving farmers the opportunity to share knowledge and debate current affairs. This transfer of information from old to new generations is vital if the industry is going to progress.”
Diversity is key
“By utilising both the skimmed milk and cream we can produce a range of dairy products from milk and cream to yoghurt. What might appear to be quite an extensive range is actually an efficient, yet fairly narrow catalogue of products.
I think this is what makes Trewithen thrive as a business – producing a limited range of products to the best of our ability. Diversity is key however when it comes to customers.
From doorstep delivery to supermarkets and wholesalers, having a range of customers whether big or small is essential to a sustainable business. Like the dairy process must appreciate every member of the chain, we love working with businesses big and small. Our corner shops remain as important as our large retail customers and we show support at all levels.”
For more information; trewithendairy.co.uk