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Farm Profile

 

Welcome to our farm. We are Alan and Donna Webber and live at the farm with our three children. The farm is situated on a ridge to the south of the Little Dart river and we look across the valley toward the village of West Worlington. Most of our fields surround our farm with some covering the slopes between our farm buildings and the river basin. We focus totally on dairy farming and we have been fully organic since 2001.

We currently farm 450 acres and milk 200 dairy cows.  We follow the New Zealand style extended grazing system, which means the cows go out to graze grass earlier in the spring and stay out for as long as the weather allows, usually 9 months of the year.  We have a variety of breeds including, New Zealand Friesians, Dairy Shorthorn, Swedish Red and White and Montebeliarde.
We sell our milk to the Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative  who collect the milk from our farm every other day.  This is then sold to processors such as Yeo Valley to sell just as milk or make into yogurts, ice cream, cheese, etc. Approximately half of our milk goes to make Kingdom Cheddar which is the only organic British farmhouse cheddar sold in the USA.
The cows are milked twice a day and each cow produces approximately 7,000 litres of milk per year over a 10 month period (each cow has a couple of months to rest before calving). The cows are calved once a year between September and Christmas and we rear the girl calves (heifers) for our replacements.  The boy calves (bulls) are sold to other farmers to rear for beef.  The heifers have their first calves at two years old and hopefully will remain in the herd for an average of six years.
 

We aim to use homeopathic remedies as much as possible and despite being a bit sceptical when we first converted to organic status thirteen years ago, we have had great results.  We don’t use any artificial pesticides and fertilisers therefore we have to make the best use of our farmyard manure (apologies for the smell from time to time!).

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 FARMING DIARY DECEMBER 2014

 As promised, we would like to tell you about our new cheese venture!
Our milk buyer, the Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative (OMSCo), has been looking into possible new niche outlets for our organic milk, and came upon a gap in the market for organic English Cheddar in the USA.  The USA’s organic standards are slightly stricter than the European ones, so OMSCo set about finding a small group of farms that could meet their conditions.

  So that the Cheddar Cheese would remain as close to its heritage as possible, OMSCo wanted to find a group in the South West and we were lucky to be chosen as one of these family farms.
Along with eight other farms, our milk is transported to Ford Farm at Ashley Chase, a traditional cheese maker where it is crafted by hand, and is then matured in the caves at Cheddar Gorge for a minimum of 10 months to develop its cave-aged delicious flavour. The cheese is called “Kingdom” and is the only British organic cheese available in the USA. It has been exciting to be involved in the launch of the cheese and to be involved in the making of a short promotional video which you can view at www.kingcomcheddar.com. We also hosted a visit from two US food bloggers at the end of October, who were keen to see the story behind Kingdom Cheese, from meeting some of the farmers and their cows to seeing how the cheese is made.
Pasture fed dairy is becoming more popular throughout the US, so one of the commitments of the group is that our cows will be kept on pasture for as many days of the year as possible, which as you know, we have always been keen to do anyway. The more grass a cow eats, the higher in nutritional value the end product will be.

An interesting fact for you: The main ingredient of cheese is milk. In fact, to make 1lb of cheese you need 10lbs of milk (that’s the equivalent of about 1.2 gallons of milk).
We’re delighted to say that Kingdom Cheese won 3 gold awards and a trophy at the International Cheese Awards – the world’s biggest cheese show! Kingdom won Gold Awards for Farmhouse/Traditional Sharp Cheddar, Export and Cheddar/Cheddar Style as well as the Export trophy.  Kingdom also took home the silver award in the Sharp Traditional category at the Royal Highland Cheese Show.
Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and let’s hope 2015 is a prosperous year for us all!!

Alan & Donna


 
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Diary Archive

Click on the month below to download the diary entry for that month.

June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011        Visit our Grass Management Photoshow on YouTube
October 2011             Visit our Calving at Hensley Photoshow on YouTube
December 2011
February 2012            Visit our Typical Winter's Day Through the Eyes of a Cow Photoshow on YouTube
April 2012
May 2012
July 2012
August 2012
January 2013
February 2013
July 2013

March 2014
October 2014

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