Maple Field Milk — the “Cow Jones Index”

31st December 2014

There is a considerable interest in our ‘Cow Bonds’.  Such interest that I think we shall have to be represented in the City.  Imagine John Humphries announcing on the Today Programme, each morning… “and the Cow Jones is up to a new high this morning”.

We live on a four acre field surrounded by tall, thick Enclosure Act hedges planted in 1832. I have talked about this before and with great enthusiasm I shall mention it again.  It is like living in a clearing. We look out on three quarters of an acre of Woodland. We are eternally sheltered by it. There are all the enclosure act favourites: beautiful ‘spindle’ with its extraordinary fruits (Euonymous Europa), holly, privet, sloe (Prunus Spinosa), hazel, ivy, dog rose with hips (Rosa Canina), field maple (Acre Campestre), hawthorn, crab apples, and ash trees which were coppiced a hundred years ago and now are waiting for me and my turn.

I can see the hedge shaking as the cows reach for useful browse perhaps to self-medicate against ancient bovine ailments.

Praise worthy electric fence machine by RAPPA. It sends out its regular flashes of current at 40,000 volts (but no amps) or hardly any.  If you think of volts as the flow of current, like water in a pipe whereas amps are the ‘burn’ of the energy carried – I think this is how it works. The  four-footed damp nosed bovine comes into contact with 40,000 volts trying to earth itself through its warm body. Better than the pointy barb on a wire fence – no blood.  I daresay there are animals that don’t mind the charge.  Ashley Brown is able to hold the live wire firmly in his hand.  He tolerates the convulsions straight through his body with no apparent harm.

We can now sell our cream. At last.  After nine months of puzzling over microbiological test results we find that cream need not be tested at all. If the test results for the milk are good then the cream passes. It all goes through the same pasteuriser at 72 C for 15 seconds. It follows that the cream has been subjected to the same rigorous heat treatment and is therefore safe.

I would say that the village shops are thriving.  We visit 10 shops three times a week.  They are all very busy and full of light and sound and gossip. They sell everything from hot pies to snazzy sunglasses; sun cream to salad cream. They all clamour for the fresh local milk. They are pleased to be associated with Nunton Farm through us.  It gives a strong geographical fix on one of their best sellers.

I like to put my head through the bars of the ring feeder and lean there like a front-row forward in rugby scrum. The cows lean opposite in their own bovine ‘front row’.

Hear this:  Someone has actually suggested putting fresh raw milk straight into a bio-digester ‘on farm’! They hoped this would provide a better farm gate price. Land flowing with milk and slurry. Just when the dairy industry, Dairy Co and the like, are desperately trying to describe milk as the new fab drink – others are suggesting mixing it with trash.  What does the Moo Magician think I wonder?

This is such horrible nonsense. Protests…….blockades……and slurry. Farmers are being paid as little as 26p per litre of milk. Our farmer is paid 40p per litre by us.  All our customers are setting an example. They prefer to buy Fair Trade milk.  The customer-led revolution starts here and now……this year…..come on.

Nick Snelgar

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