Taw Valley Creamery is a part of Arla Foods. Arla Foods is a 100 per cent farmer-owned coop-erative, owned by 12,400 European dairy farmers, 1,600 of whom are British. Founded on coop-erative principles, our strategy is to deliver for our farmers.
Arla Foods is home to some of the UK’s leading dairy brands including Cravendale, Lurpak, Castello and Anchor. Processing approximately 3.2 billion litres of milk a year and with a turnover of approximately £2bn, Arla Foods is the UK’s largest dairy company.
Arla Foods makes over 4,000 daily deliveries to stores and regional distribution centres nation-wide and its brands can be found across the dairy category. The company has a 26 per cent share of the GB milk pool. Behind this leading business is a team of circa 4,000 people across the UK located at our dairies, distribution centres and head office.
Our farmer membership is made up of a range of farms - large farms of 200+ cows, small farms of 30 cows, organic farms and traditional dairy farms. Here are just some of the people who supply milk into our Taw Valley creamery:
Introducing the farming families that help us make outstanding cheese
Wootton Top Farm, Bow, Devon
Graham Friend, his wife Ruth and their son Martyn are fifth generation farmers from the green valleys of Devon. Their family has been rearing cows and sheep on their 180-acre farm since as far back as the 1930s.
‘Our farm is home to 65 cows and 100 sheep,' explains Graham. ‘It's nearly doubled in size over the years so today it covers nearly 200 acres. But it's still a relatively small farm, which means we give a lot of attention to all our animals.
‘Our working day starts at 6am when my son Martyn milks the cows. Then we all muck in with yard work and tending to the cattle before milking starts again at 4pm. There are always a range of jobs to do - anything from plumbing and welding to fieldwork and digging ditches. I enjoy the variety of work involved in farming and the freedom of the countryside.
‘At Wootton Farm we're also lucky to have a strong sense of community spirit. We do quite a bit of work helping out our neighbours and it's nice to lend a hand when someone needs help.
‘The whole family enjoys Taw Valley cheese. My wife Ruth and I particularly like The Red One and the mild cheddar, while father prefers the more mature cheddars.'
Taylorsdown Farm, North Tawton, Devon
Alistair and Helen Vanstone farm Taylorsdown with their children Jamie, Matthew and Ashley (18 months). Alistair took over their 400-acre farm from his dad and dairying started here in 1992. It's been in the family for 97 years and is currently home to a herd of 180 cows.
‘As the boys get older they're becoming more useful with feeding the cattle,' laughs Alistair. ‘It's useful considering there's work to do from 5.30am to 8pm every day.
‘A big part of the job is stock work like feeding. When we come along the feed fence with the feeding cart it's good seeing them all standing up eating and swishing their tails.'
‘We milk for two hours a day during summer and three and a half hours in winter. But we're always watching them to make sure they're happy and healthy. We notice how they walk and chew the cud. We've all got our favourites too. My son Jamie likes a white cow called Concord and she'll come up to him to have her nose rubbed.
‘Taw Valley cheese is popular in our house - particularly extra mature cheddar and Tickler. But it doesn't last long so we make plenty of trips to the shop to get more.'
East Ashley Farm, Chulmleigh, Devon
Steve Saunders, his brother Roger and their dad Bill work together on their 290-acre farm. As well as looking after 100 cows they also grow wheat, barley and maize crops.
‘Our working farm has been in the family for 100 years. Farming is our way of life and we all love getting out in the fresh air,' says Roger. ‘The farm started out as a 65- acre site but over the years it's grown to cover almost 300 acres.
‘There are always jobs to be done. But our day starts at 6am with two hours of milking. Then there's feeding and caring for the cows and crops, before more milking later in the afternoon.
‘We look after our cows from the very first mouthful of food our calves eat. Because we've hand-reared them all from day 1 we can walk amongst them freely without a problem. We believe the better you look after your cows, the better they look after you and the better the quality of their milk.
‘We recently visited the Taw Valley creamery and were thoroughly impressed. The whole family likes Taw Valley Tickler.'