DEC. 2, 2002
LIGHTWOOD CHEESE, WORCESTERSHIRE
Lightwood Farm seems to be getting it right. Their cows are kept to Freedom Food standards. They use all their own milk to make their cheeses on the farm. They also have a shop on the farm where you can taste and buy the cheese. It is excellent. I had their new soft cheese, to be called Chaser. The first batch sold out last week at market. The second batch is delicious and unlike any other soft cheese I know. I also bought Old Gloucester and Lightwood Smoked. There are several more.
GWILLUMS FARM SHOP, BEVERE, WORCS.
Selling genuinely local produce including their own vegetables, free range beef, pork and lamb,
Local fruit, all accurately sourced,
Cheese from LIGHTWOOD and
ANSTEY'S, BROMHALL FARM, WORCESTER. Also their butter.
Milk from COTTESWOLD DAIRY, TEWKWSBURY, GLOS.
Ice cream from BENNETTS, MANOR FARM, LOWER WICK, WORCESTER
Eggs from HOMESTEAD, EVESHAM, WORCS, where they "roam in organically maintained orchards". It says so on the box. Also from
RADFORD FREE RANGE EGGS, INKBERROW, WORCS
Apple juice [AUMBANK] produced by PERSHORE COLLEGE, WORCS.
SYKES DAIRY, AINLEY, SLAITHWAITE, W. YORKS.
Ainley is perched high on the side of the precipitous Colne Valley, untouched by the entire twentieth century, and it looks as if they're going to get away with it. The Sykes's do what all dairy farmers did until recently. They supply their immediate neighbourhood with milk. Their Holstein Friesians graze their fields. They are milked on the farm. The milk is bottled on the farm, and the Sykes's do a milk round and sell to shops in Slaithwaite. Agro-industry has passed them by. The milk tanker would never make it to Ainley
LONGLEY FARM DAIRY, HOLMFIRTH, W. YORKS
Known nationally for their yoghurt, Longley is a very efficient West Riding mill.
3 levels of conveyor belts whisk pots of yoghurt round the unpeopled building. Longley still has its own herd of Jersey cows, although they buy in most of their milk. They sell their Jersey cream and butter locally. They have a single wind generator above the factory, and would have had more, but they were refused planning permission. They catered for school visits until Foot and Mouth, but never started again. They are finding life a whole lot easier without them (as who does not? Yet I can't help feeling they have a duty to education)
HINCHLIFFE'S FARM SHOP, NETHERTON, HUDDERSFIELD. W. YORKS.
In the middle of a battery hen unit, with a dozen butchers behind the counter, Hinchliffe's is big business. Besides their own meat and their own battery eggs, they sell a range of supermarket food and milk from
COPLEY HOUSE FARM, MELTHAM, W. YORKS
An inspiring day in the Dales. When I was last here, it was a war zone, with road blocks, piles of carcasses in the fields, and the huge machinery of slaughter roaring through the villages. Now the farmers are fighting back, and anyone who thought they could intimidate and starve the hill farmers out will face some lively opposition. There is a new slaughter house at Bainbridge, run by MC INTYRE MEATS
They actually talk about animal welfare, and cater specially for organic farmers and farmers on the Freedom Food Scheme. They also take great trouble to cut the meat to individual farmers, requirements. It did really strike me as a stress-free place.
WENSLEYDALE CREAMERY, HAWES. N. YORKS
The success story of Dales farming. The creamery was bought by Dairy Crest to be closed down, but a workers' co-operative would not allow this. They bought it back in 1992 and have run it with increasing success ever since. There is now a museum and viewing gallery, a very popular restaurant and a shop where you can taste all their cheeses. AND they're not expensive. The creamery ensures a living to the dairy farmers of Wensleydale and produces a delicious local cheese.
REDMIRE FARM, BUCKDEN, WHARFEDALE. N. YORKS.
Since the traumas of Foot and Mouth, which raged all round them and made them feel that their animals, so precious and irreplaceable to them, were worthless to the outside world, Julia Horner has started to sell the Horners' meat direct from the farm. Her boxes of Dalesbred lamb are already popular. They are sold only to customers who come and collect them, so that they can also get "the farm experience." The Horners are not just selling meat, but a whole way of life which is kind to the land and kind to the animals and preserves an incredibly beautiful landscape.
She is about to start selling their Aberdeen Angus X beef in the same way. Their cattle have the bull with them all the time and rear their own calves naturally, grazing the natural pastures of the tops. The sheep have been in the Horner family for 8 generations. They also have a completely free life.
You can have bed and breakfast at Redmire Farm and I can think of no better way to see the Dales and learn about hill farming.
Industrial farmers may make a quick fortune and offer cheap food in exchange for destroying the planet, but they are not having it all their own way. There are alternatives, and they are becoming easier to find.
STILL IN THE DALES. STILL THINKING ABOUT PROGRESS
We have been brought up on the idea that progress means bigger and faster and richer. But this is a nineteenth century definition of progress. I'm surprised it survived right through the twentieth century.
Progress doesn't go in a straight line. It goes in spirals.
It is obvious to me as I travel round England that the industrial age is dead. It died some time ago, but we are slow to change our ideas when our security is involved. Of course there's plenty of industry left. No change is neat and complete. As in a symphony, the new theme is growing up through the old.
The new theme is something like "think global; act local". In farming, this translates into a synthesis of traditional farming methods (which work) and new technology. For the planet to survive, we need to give back as much as we take out. We do not need to go back to ignorance, isolation, drudgery.
We certainly do not need to see farming in terms of industry, a dodgy model, even in industry's heyday.
KETTLEWELL VILLAGE STORE illustrates this global/local theme. They sell as much local produce as they can. For example:
Eggs from CORN CLOSE FARM, LANESHAWBRIDGE,
Bacon from JACK SCAIFE, OAKWORTH,
Milk from TOWN HEAD FARM, GRASSINGTON,
Yoghurt from LITTLE TOWN DAIRY, THORNLEY,
Water from FYLINGDALES
Bread from EARBY
AND in amongst the groceries is a computer for customers to use. The village website
www.kettlewell.info gives local information. Local businesses can remain completely local, yet be connected to anyone anywhere. Wherever you are in the world, you can download a picture of the Dales as a screensaver
JACKSON'S FARM SHOP. CRACOE.
Jacksons have been selling their own sausages in Cracoe for years, but the shop has developed sensationally since I was last here. They still sell their own sausages and they are as good as ever. Now they also sell their own jams and chutneys,
DALESCAPE post cards, (nothing to do with farming but something I always need in the Dales. David Green is one of my very favourite photographers. No one else gets the essential greenness of the Dales like he does.)
Honey from DENHOLME GATE APIARY
Cheese and cakes from WENSLEYDALE CREAMERY
Ice cream from BRYMOR, who have mushroomed recently. I have seen their Jersey cows and eaten their excellent ice cream at JERVAULX , though not this time.
The Jacksons are still expanding. Next comes a tea room/ice-cream parlour.
DRIFFIELD FARMERS' MARKET. E. YORKS
Very cold day and a lively market, loved by the farmers. It was greatly enlivened by free King Edward chips from A.B. COLEMAN, CHURCH FARM, SPEETON, N.YORKS, who sells only King Edwards. Undoubtedly the best potato.
Free range eggs from SPRINGFIELD FARM, DRIFFIELD
Smoked everything but mainly trout, from YOADWORTH MILL, KIRBYMOORSIDE, N. YORKS www.smokedforyou.co.uk
Organic veg. From BARMSTON ORGANICS, DRIFFIELD, who also sell wholemeal flour, stoneground at BESWICK WATERMILL.
Beef from KELLEYTHORPE ABERDEEN ANGUS, DRIFFIELD
Pork products from EAST RIDING COUNTRY PORK www.eastridingcountrypork.co.uk This is the industrial pig-producing big-business of the East Riding.
Hand raised pork pies from BULLIVANT AND DAUGHTERS, CLAXTON, a small family farm, in another East Riding tradition. I went to see them.
Goat cheese from EASTGATE FARM, RUDSTON, DRIFFIELD. They also cook the most delicious stews and sauces, using only locally sourced ingredients. These will be available at their shop, which opens next weekend:
THE FARM SHOP, 5 RIVERHEAD, DRIFFIELD, (01262 420074)
with 4 main aims: Environmentally friendly production, the highest possible standards of animal welfare, support of local agriculture and businesses, supporting the local community. They will also sell fairly traded tea, coffee, etc. to "support members of struggling agricultural communities in other parts of the world." They deserve to succeed, and I hope to see their goats.
This is only a small selection of the goodies available at Driffield. Pork and sausages predominate. No fruit or fruit juice. Wonderful Yorkshire baking on all sides.
YORK FARMERS' MARKET at MURTON AUCTION MART. YORK.
Less attractive than Driffield because it takes place in the freezing concrete pens of the market.
Buffalo mozzarella, hard cheese, meat, sausages and burgers from LANGTHORNE BUFFALOES NORTHALLERTON.
Mohair socks (and they're lovely) from CALDER VALLEY TROUT AND MOHAIR
All sorts of mushrooms from MILL FARM MUSHROOMS, S. MILFORD.
Free range eggs from L.E. MAY, SOUTH CAVE.
and HAPPY HENS, WESTOW, YORK.
and ROY PLEWS, HAXBY
ORCHARD FRUIT WINE, WETHERBY.
Jersey cream, butter and ice cream from BIRCHFIELD ICE CREAM, SUMMERBRIDGE, HARROGATE.
Walking sticks from BRAMHOPE
Willow crafts from OUT OF THE WOODS, WHITWELL-ON-THE-HILL
Organic potatoes from STRENGTH, BISHOP WALTON
Real ale from MARSTON MOOR BREWERY, KIRK HAMMERTON,
Game from COWARD, THORGANBY
Guaranteed free-range chickens and ducks from ROSEDALE, HORNSEA.
Lots more pork and pork products, mostly not free range, but I went to see one that is:
BULLIVANT AND DAUGHTERS, CLAXTON
Breed their own Berkshires and make the most delicious hand-raised pork pies. They use a local slaughter house, make their own sausages, potted meat and burgers and sell only to their own loyal customers and at farmers' markets.
My thanks to Anne Bosanquet who showed me the prosperous farming of the Wolds.
Click here to go to the next page in Hilary Peter's Food Revolution Diary