Happy New Year! Our five new Friesian cows have settled in well with the rest of the herd. They arrived from an organic dairy in Shropshire where they were being milked by a robotic milker and we believe they had the privilege of choosing what times they could be milked and how many times a day too. It took them a few days to get used to our twice-daily milking schedule at 7.30 am and 5.30 pm. At first, there was a fair bit of noise coming from the barn gate early in the morning and late in the afternoon as the newcomers probably found it strange to have such heavy udders at these times of the day. But on the plus side, they didn’t need much encouragement to go inside the parlour and there wasn’t much stress from being around us and having a human touch rather than machine. They were all quite relaxed from the beginning which was great to see, and we’re pleased there’s no more mooing from the barn as they’ve settled into the routine.
With the extra milk from our new cows, we had a bit of a glut over Christmas and New Year and so we could make some ice cream over the holidays. Chocolate, Fior di Latte, and Olive Oil Gelato are once again in stock.
While all is well on the dairy and we shouldn’t experience any more production shortages for a while, there is some disappointing news to report from our TB re-tests. Eva, our oldest cow at 11, failed her retest and will soon have to leave us. She was in-calf and we hoped (even at her ripe old age) we’d get at least one more lactation from her before it was her time to go, but sadly it’s not to be. She was the matriarch of the herd, taking over the mantle from Indianne many years ago, and she was by far the most productive cow in the dairy’s history producing over 44,000 litres of milk in her lifetime. Just like her mother Duchess, she could be stubborn at times - particularly when it came to TB testing! Although she was very good-natured towards us humans, she kind of ruled with an iron fist when it came to the other cows – they all had to know their place and not step out of line in her presence otherwise they could get a bunt! She’s survived by her sister Precious, her daughter Iona, and a second daughter who’s still young and has yet to be named.
From next week we’ll be using new bottles with a printed design on the glass. The delivered bottles on our milk rounds won’t come with a label or a use-by-date, but the milk will have the same shelf-life as before. i.e., If you have a delivery on a Tuesday or Wednesday, the milk will have been pasteurised on Monday afternoon and will be good for seven days from pasteurisation if unopened. If you have a delivery on Friday, your milk will have been pasteurised on Thursday and will be good for seven days from pasteurisation if left unopened. Once a bottle is opened it is recommended to use it within three days of opening.
Not putting labels on the bottles is going to save us a lot of time on processing days with one less laborious task to do, and oddly enough we’re not required by law to put use-by dates on milk that is delivered to doorsteps in glass bottles in this country so we’ve decided to make the switch to printed bottles, without labels. All our other products, including yoghurt and cream, will continue to have labels with use-by-dates though. While not having a use-by-date on the milk might present some challenges for the customers who have two deliveries a week and may have milk leftover from the previous delivery, we would recommend having a system in place in your fridge where the oldest milk is at the front or in the door ready to be used first.
For customers who collect milk from the pick-up fridge, it will be slightly different. Your printed glass bottles will contain a sticker on the lid with a use-by-date.
Everyone, please continue to wash & return all bottles to us as normal, including the old un-printed bottles.