05 Feb 2017

Diversification at the farm gate

The Crickmore family have been farming the land at Fen Farm for three generations and believe they have rediscovered something that many have forgotten. That the very best food in the world is the simplest, straight from nature to the plate. The herd of graze the beautiful marshlands of the Waveney River Valley in Suffolk and the delicious raw milk produced is made into the finest cheese, raw cultured butter and raw cream.

The family business operates a team with Jonny’s parents Graham and Frances, and wife Dulcie involved with all aspects including the recent decision to use CIS for milk recording.  The milk recording service helps the family and herdsman Shaun Clarke make informed decisions about the herd from feeding to breeding.

Fen Farm is a wonderful demonstration where diversification has paid off and a niche market has grown for their fresh raw produce available to buy at the farm gate or from their online shop.  The family have installed a funky cow-print shed where customers can fill their milk bottles from one of UK’s first raw milk vending machine.  Whilst filling bottles customers can peer through the windows of the cheese and butter making rooms to see the production process, watch the cows at milking time or see them out enjoying the grass.

“Taking this step to diversify has been a positive one for our business and connects us with the local community, bringing them closer to the dairy industry and improving awareness of what amazing produce can be offered by dairy cows.  The milk vending machine we use was sourced from DF Italia for which we are UK representatives for the supply of these fantastic machines,” comments Jonny.

The DF Italia Milk Vending machines provide dairy farmers with a method to safely and easily sell milk direct to the public and getting a fair price for it. The vending machines are a quick and simple way to begin diversification as they provide instant cash flow, require minimum labour and output and when located carefully the payback on your initial investment can be very fast. They can also make a great add-on to an already well established dairy diversification, such as a farm shop or open farm.

“In a climate where the only real certainty for dairy farmers in financial uncertainty, we believe this is a vital piece of kit for the industry. The milk vending machine is already making a difference to our business.  Like many dairy farmers we had a decision between getting out of dairy farming entirely, or taking control of our own milk price and growing a healthy, profitable business.  The latter we did and it is paying dividends.  Our vending machines can be located anywhere, hold either raw or pasteurised milk and are easy to clean and service. They can be tailored with a wide variety of features to suit your business and they can even text you when they need a refill!” concludes Jonny.

Find out more about Fen Farm Dairy visit www.fenfarmdairy.co.uk

Fen Farm Dairy Ltd.,
Fen Farm,
Flixton Road,
NR35 1PD