12th June 2016
No: it’s not a great half marathon; not the Cresta run, nor slalom on snow – It’s the perfect uninterrupted pasteurising run to produce fresh local milk.
I wound out the milk pipe and bolted it on to the bulk tank at Nunton Farm. The cows had crossed the road to the Ebble meadow for the morning nosh. The world was organised and at peace. The milk gushed into my IBC tank inside the new Citroen Relay van with temperature control set at 4 C. Back at Maple Field I plugged the IBC into the pasteuriser via the special ‘port’ in the wall. I switched the cream separator on and pressed ‘start’. A thin fountain of orange cream fell obediently into the bucket. The motor hummed in no particular strain. The pasteuriser stayed firmly within its pre-set temperature marks – no warning lights; no alarms and no plunging into ‘divert’ mode. Tracy was soon bottling the 1050 litres of milk needed for tomorrow’s deliveries. Fat test samples taken, labelled and made ready for posting to National Milk Laboratories, Wolverhampton.
You can link the eager line-up of staff at Nunton Farm bustling about their jobs with lively efficiency to the eager customers awaiting their milk delivery on Monday. You can imagine the count-down to Maple Field energy drink; you can imagine athletes pausing on the treadmill to have a swig.
Dave harrowed the badly winter damaged acre of land at Maple Field and I hand sowed it with a herb rich mixture from David Bright Seeds Ltd (one of our doorstep customers). It contained meadow fescue; Timothy; Cocksfoot; clover – two sorts; chicory; yarrow and sainfoin plus two sorts of Int and late Diploid which I don’t understand. Slowly, with wide sweeping gestures of the right hand aimed toward the horizon, I followed my markers like an explorer in the Sahel.
Rain swept in on Saturday night and Sunday morning with more to follow. The conditions could not be better for infant grass seed.
There are eight of us now working towards a future for dairy farming. When she returns from holiday, we shall engage another roundsperson. Her name is Lorraine. Then there will be nine.
Another family of dairy farmers have made contact with us for advice on how to save their herd. They get 18p per litre from Muller. They are going to halve their herd down to 50 cows. They will go all-out grass fed and sell direct. Just what we want. Just what Matt Dale was saying at the conference. These people like our system. That makes nine dairy farmers beating a path to the open door of Maple Field Milk C.I.C.
We need a band of enthusiastic green investors to help us start building micro-processing plants in the style of Maple Field. We need a spectacular athlete to add their name to our brand as the Best Energy/Sport drink in the world (Dame Kelly are you listening?).
I must go and clean the Citroen Relay and listen to Mike and the Mechanics followed by Allo Darling.
Keep dairying; keep talking; and seek out those customers.
Editor’s Note: If you are interested in helping promote micro-dairies through positive investment, then please get in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org