There was a lowing mood down on the farm this week when we popped along to take a look at the ‘lovely girls’ who do the real hard work - so we can all enjoy the benefits. It was also a great chance for us to catch up with and appreciate the farmers John and Edward who actually do the other part of the hard work - milking a 140 cow herd twice a day. 4.30 am start anybody?
The truth is we had been hoping to catch the cows out in the pasture, but like everyone else in the country, we have been subject to the incessant rain and cold. So much so that the pasture has been slow coming on and the ground underfoot as we squelched our way across the beautiful acres of the farm told a wet and muddy story.
Anyhow, it was great to get the wellies on and get acquainted with the herd again, who were a little shy in coming forward - although curiosity got the better of them eventually. Katherine and John naturally, were as always, curious as to the ‘hows and whys’ and the technical side of how we get our milk as fresh, raw and as natural as possible each morning - so when our delivery comes, it is literally, fresh from the farm, so to speak. Their questions are never about how do we maintain excellence in our cheese BUT always, how do we make it better?
Once we’d had a meet and greet with the herd, we had a tour of the unploughed pastures - there’s more science in the soil than any of us really understand, with the exception of Farmer John, who picked us a blade of grass and said ” what you have to imagine, is that this is a solar panel...”
And who could be failed to be moved by the misty silhouette of Glastonbury Tor on one side and the Spires of Wells Cathedral on the other? Perhaps the cows take it for granted but standing high on the hill with such a view of glorious Somerset spreading out on each side, you can appreciate that what John and Edward are doing is something very special in a very special place.
The milk we then make into award-winning cheddar would not be possible, were it not for the hard work, passion that the farm puts in and the herd delivers daily. We were humbled. And perhaps never more so than sipping a welcome milky coffee in the farmhouse kitchen and standing on the original flagstones - there when the farm made its own cheese back in the day and in fact, John and Edward’s Father can remember cheese being made here. By the women, of course.
We couldn't help wondering what the cheddar tasted like then, as it is now produced by hand in the belief and understanding that this is how Cheddar used to taste, how it should taste and that is why, Spencers and crew, cows and farmers were all there down on the farm watching the magic begin...and wishing the cows would soon be out there munching their way through true Somerset pasture once again. Does it make a difference?
You bet it does.