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Grosmont Wood Farm: The real deal!

Grosmont Wood Farm: The real deal!

I like my milk.  I like to drink tasty milk, and to know that the cows from where it came have been looked after.  For some time, I have bought organic milk from my local supermarket.  However, I really want to support a small, local supplier.  Then I found out about Grosmont Wood Farm.  It is run by Robert and Emma Robinson, and it is fair to say that dairy farming is in Robert’s blood.  It is his purpose in life.

Robert is the 6th member of the family to manage the herd, but by 2014, he was finding running the family farm of 179 acres across 5 different sites in North Bedfordshire no longer viable.  The milking unit alone, which is used twice a day, was 20 minutes’ drive from the farm house and distance made farming some of the sites unviable.  His choice was simple: stay in Bedfordshire and change jobs, or move.  The farm had been started by his great grandfather returning from WWl.  To continue the operation, they moved to rural Monmouthshire and a 300 acres holding.

Robert’s passion for the job is very evident.  On the day I first visited, he showed me the nursery where the young calves live, each on a straw bed and with its own space to ensure healthy air.  A cow had calved that morning, and was in a spacious pen in the main barn.  A heifer calf, this would be retained within the herd.  Careful breeding ensures that each cow is equipped for milking with sound genetics and many cows produce 7 or 8 lactations (the modern cow struggles after just 2).  For Robert, this is not just another calf, but a highlight.

Bull calves are often seen as surplus in the dairy sector, the Freisian parentage making them unsuited to beef production.  However, not only does Robert carefully select the based on genetics, ensuring that heifers are suitable for retention within the herd for breeding, the males are suited to rearing for beef.  There is no waste on this farm, except what cows naturally produce.

The milk is sold on the doorstep in 2 litre bottles, full cream, non-homogenised, and each purchase is supporting a small rural business.  There are no food miles, except my journey here.  But is the milk any good?  Is it heck?  This is the real McCoy.  It has a deep taste, a luxurious feel.  It tastes as we imagine milk should do.  It is becoming popular, and for a good reason.  I am no longer getting my milk from the supermarket, and I am already collecting milk for others.

I am pleased to make Robert and Emma my food heroes for the month!




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