At Feather Down, our farms are often working farms with crops, livestock and more to keep them busy during the whole year. One of our dairy farms, Balnab farm in Scotland, have recently installed a new milk pasteurising facility directly at the farm, giving you the chance to have farm fresh milk during your stay. We spoke to Chloe, one of the farmers, about their farm, the process of installing the pasteurising facility and what this means for their farm.
You're a more recent farm to join Feather Down (2021) - what made you decide to become part of the FD farm family?
We are passionate about what we do and where we live at Balnab Farm and wanted to share some of our every day life with others. We wanted to find a diversification project that the whole family could be involved with and becoming a Feather Down farm stood out by a long shot.
How long have you been dairy farming?
We are the 3rd generation to be milking at Balnab Farm, which began in 1929!
Why is dairy farming important in the UK?
UK dairy farmers have some of the highest standards in the world, from looking after their cows to the milk that is produced. It is really important that we continue to produce milk safely and sustainably in the UK to ensure the rural economy continues to thrive.
Why does milk have to be pasteurised? What is the process?
We have a great natural product. Having our own facilities on the farm allows us to offer our local area in Scotland fresh farm whole milk straight from Balnab Dairy.
Our milk is batch pasteurised. This means that it is heated to a lower temperature for longer, this process kills off any harmful bacteria but not essential proteins. Pasteurising by this method ensures the cream on the milk always rises to the top (The old fashioned way).
Why did you want your own facilities on site at the farm?
Being a small dairy farm , we felt we were unable to compete with larger diary farms on economies of scale. Our vision has always been to sell our milk directly, to local people, businesses and those who visit the farm.
How long has this process taken, from planning to opening the facility?
We have followed this movement carefully for 4 years until we eventually took the plunge and invested in the costly equipment. Now we are in the final stages of the process; on-boarding local businesses to stock, sell and use our milk.
Where can people find your Balnab dairy milk?
We sell our farm fresh whole milk from reusable glass branded bottles from a purpose built vending machine at Balnab farm for the public to come and purchase.
Local independent retailers will stock our bottled milk, and we hope to offer a local milk run delivery service.
You also have flavour syrups? What’s in those and how are they best used?
We have a syrup station vending machine with a choice of 8 syrup flavours to add to milk, such as chocolate or strawberry. The choice of syrups will vary periodically but all can be added straight to a bottle or glass of milk and stirred to enjoy a flavoured milk product.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
We are enthusiastic about encouraging children and adults to drink more milk, and at the same time, passionate about reducing the food miles and single use plastic. This is one of the reasons we wanted to invest in the pasteurisation facility, so local people could source milk that's been produced nearby, and why we use reusable glass bottles for the milk, to reduce the use of single plastics.
We are extremely proud of what we do and are excited to bring this to a wider audience and help promote farm to table from Balnab Dairy.