Spring is here and the cows are back out in the fields. It is always my favourite day of the year when the cows go out, seeing their joy in being back on the grass. This morning my Dad Nick said to John “Isn’t it beautiful?”. John inquired as to whether he meant the weather. He just gesticulated with his arms – everything. Indeed, there are new ducklings on the pond, clear Spring days, the grass verdant and the trees bursting out.
There’s been a lot happening too. The BBC Essex Radio Quest team came to the Farm last Sunday (2nd April). The Farm was the location for the start of the programme at 9am. It was great to be part of the show and we talked about what we are doing at the Farm before the Team tried our products. Not everything went smoothly though – we had the cunning idea of videoing them filling a bottle of milk for their Facebook site, only to have the vending machine not stop and shower Liana with milk! I know Cleopatra liked to bathe in milk but it wasn’t quite what we intended and certainly not the promotion we had thought it would be. After a stressful panic, recalibration and the standard IT fix of turn it off and turn it on again we gave it another go, only for the same result. Just before going live to air.
As soon as they left we went to look at the machine and opened it up to realise that we had forgotten to plug in the meter that measures the milk. And as anyone will tell you, if you don’t plug it in you can’t expect it to work properly! Anyway, we compensated their milky hand with cheese and cream scones so no harm done and the machine is all working again.
Things have moved on quickly recently. We are now getting into the swing of pasteurising the milk every other evening. That way we get the milk into our vending machine the evening that the cows have been freshly milked. We are also bottling the milk and potting up cream after every pasteurising, ready for deliveries to shops the next morning. We are now supplying four shops. We started with Purleigh Stores in the middle of March and then Jon Gold Farm Shop at Lubards Farm near Hullbridge. We are now also supplying Burstead Farm Shop at Little Burstead, south of Billericay and Stockbrook Farm Shop on the north side of Billericay near Stock. This is a new phase for us and is keeping us very busy.
We have been doing tastings each weekend at the Farm, but did our first one elsewhere yesterday as part of a cheese and wine tasting at the Purleigh Stores. We had lots of interest and are setting up a pre-order service so that people can order what they want and pick up at the store. We will be doing a tasting at the Burstead Farm Shop this Saturday.