Golden Fork winner | Double Cream | Jess’s Ladies Organic Farm Milk
Jess Vaughan and her father Mike have done what many beleaguered dairy farmers dream of doing and turned their backs on a system that pays a pittance for a pint of milk. now they plough their own furrow in milk and cream production.
he Vaughan family have owned Hardwicke Farm in Gloucestershire, the home of Jess’s Ladies, for three generations. Jess and her father started farming together in 2002, but after a few years, it became apparent that their small herd of ‘ladies’ with names was not going to survive unless they made some radical changes. “Modern agriculture had no place for us You can taste at that time,” says the flavours of Jess. “We either had the pastures, to become a more and they change intensive farm or do constantly, something drastic.” Opting for the latter, because this they converted a shed is real dairy into a state-of-the-art produce, from bottling plant. one single herd “We saw an opportunity to provide of cows who live organic milk the varied lives. way we were used to as dairy farmers – fresh, full of taste, unhomogenised and untampered with,” she says. “Just gently pasteurised and on the shelf within hours of leaving our ladies.” Full of flavour, rich and golden, Jess’s Ladies organic milk and cream are fields apart from mass-produced, homogenised “white stuff”. “You can taste the flavours of the pastures, and they change constantly, because this is real dairy produce, from one single herd of cows who live varied lives,” says Jess, of her Golden Fork-winning cream. Of course, going it alone in milk production and eschewing the mainstream dairy supply chain was not an easy route. “By the nature of the process we only put a comparatively small volume through our farm bottling plant, which is inherently more
expensive than huge factories whose costs are minimised by economies of scale,” says Jess. Distribution is also a challenge because Jess’s Ladies’ milk and cream have a shorter shelf life than homogenised products. Jess says they get round this by distributing themselves using their own refrigerated vans on the same day the milk leaves the cow.
Even so, with a retail price of £1.29 per litre, Jess’s Ladies’ milk is only 15p-per-litre more expensive than its mass-produced counterparts, while the cream has a 20% premium over conventional cream. “I do not think it is wildly expensive for a product with genuine differences, and which, as the Great Taste judges agreed, tastes much better as well!” says Jess. www.theladiesorganicmilk.co.uk
How to use: dollop on strawberries in summer, blackberry & apple pie in autumn and Christmas pud in winter GREAT TASTE 2016-17