The dairy herd has swelled in numbers. The five new pedigree Ayrshires joined us from Shirley Farm’s dairy in Derbyshire last month and have settled in admirably. The farm name their cows too, so they came predetermined – Blossom, Violet, Butterfly, Connie and Mary - have joined the milkers outside enjoying the fresh Oxfordshire air on the last grazing rotation of the season. And they’re not taking any foolishness from one or two of the other cows either. There’s often some jostling for positions in the hierarchy when new cows are introduced, but Margaret, who we thought was our matriarch, has had to back down on one or two occasions whilst trying to assert her influence. They’re all getting along splendidly without any squabbling.
Although it’s great that the new cows are here, it can’t be said that they’re producing the greatest amount of milk. Nor can it be said about the rest of the herd too. The grass has finally grown after the very long drought, but it hasn’t boosted the milk yields as well as we had hoped. While it all looks quite good out there, the pasture’s probably lacking some of the nutrients that develop earlier in the summer. Still, it’s nice to see the girls outside at the time of year we’d usually be thinking of bringing them in for the winter, and it means some of the silage bales we’ve gone through over the summer can in a sense be “bought back” as we’re not needing to feed bales to them now from an already diminished stock.
With dwindling milk yields, it’s unlikely we’ll make any more ice cream soon but it will give us more time to focus on other projects including more research into the oat milk (which we haven’t forgotten about!). As it stands, we have a product with a flavour, viscosity and mouthfeel we’re happy with, we just need to find a way of extending the shelf life to make it more suitable for general sale. Who would have thought that adding water to oats could pose more of a challenge than animal products, but there you go!
We hope you enjoyed the mature beef, there is plenty left over in our freezers if any more is required. We have a fantastic selection of steaks available and enough mince to keep us going for a while. There’s also plenty of raspberry ice cream available from a batch made this summer.
If you have signed up for a weekly loaf of sourdough bread from Forge House Bakery, the first orders will be delivered next week (w/c 7th November). If you haven’t signed up yet it’s not too late to let us know. Ideally, we would prefer regular weekly orders but if you would like to try the bread for a one-off order, Sue can accommodate additions with enough notice. The loaves retail at £4 and are available for Wednesday and Friday delivery and collection only.