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House heated and hot water produced by geothermal energy: 1kw electricity used by the pump realises 4.52kw heat. Use of recycled writing paper instituted.
Changed domestic electricity supplier to ‘Ecotricity’ a green energy sourcing electricity supplier. Cheese moulds using disposable paper liners changed to re-usable plastic nets. Cleaning of cheese items now carried out by soaking using cold water thereby saving energy for daily heating of 250 litres water from 5°C to 50°C.
Solar Panels and HDG 50kW wood burning boiler
Payments to suppliers made on line; customers encouraged to pay direct to bank; combined delivery note/invoice sent with goods; statements sent by email.
An original still house was recently identified on the farm. Currently believed to be the oldest original still house still working in Britain. Experts have put its building date to the 1600s. Its closure as a distillery is documented to post 1809. A distilling licence has been obtained from Customs and Excise to enable the re-opening of the distillery and put it back to its original task of distilling alcohol from fermented fruit. The parish of Dymock has long been famous for its fruit production and cider and perry making. Dymock is at the heart of the perry pear growing district of the British Isles. There are many extremely rare varieties of both vintage perry pear and apples growing within the parish. By using this fruit in alcohol production attention will be focussed on these varieties and may encourage further planting to feed the alcohol industry.
This source of spirit alcohol has the following benefits:
Distilling alcohol means 30% less water is transported needlessly in the finished product. The still to be used will be wood-fired saving the use of fossil fuel.
The farm hosted the Specialist Cheesemakers Association Annual Meeting this summer. This event provided an opportunity to share the company’s vision and commitment to diversity and sustainability. Over 200 visitors came to the farm and were shown all aspects of the cheesemaking operation and the livestock management together with seeing the provision for wildlife. Lectures on a range of subjects were held including the use of aerobic digestors for waste control.
The restoration of the distillery building has been completed and the copper potstill installed to distill fermented perry pears and other fruit, as well as cider and perry.
The still with its six plate column, has produced a very fine pear spirit which has been noted for its remarkably clean pear flavour. Also apples and plums have been fermented this season to produce orchard fruit spirits. The Vintage Pear Spirit has been bottled ready for sale. Being of such a fine quality there is no need to age it in barrels to remove any harshness.
The still is wood-fired in keeping with company’s aim of investing in sustainable energy. This uses locally sources timber as per the creamery boiler, as well as timber waste generated from the farm, eg. fallen branches.
Packaging for the Vintage Pear Spirit has been sourced from local suppliers where available. The cardboard packaging for delivery has been sourced from the same supplier as the cheese packaging, to reduce delivery journeys. Glass bottles may be recycled.
The licensing of the buildings has been achieved which enables internet sales to be made. This reduces the carbon footprint of purchasers travelling to buy the product.
The cheese recipes have been changed after development work to return to natural rennet for the hard cheeses, Single and Double Gloucester, Double Berkeley and Hereford Hop. This takes the product back to a more natural product rather than the microbial rennets previously used.
The commissioning of the new effluent plant has been completed, as well as the redesign and relaying of the livestock yards and drainage. This will contain any spillages from the cheese dairy or yards and prevent waste products and run off getting into local water courses.
This year two oxen have been trained as a yoked pair for use as beasts of burden, and to train a Japanese researcher keen to study and develop the techniques of training oxen. This has enabled the skills to be passed onto another generation and with an international twist!
As part of the development of the management resources now available, the company is investigating the options of attaining Higher Level Stewardship, as well as more rigourous investigation of energy and water usage.
Staff at the farm are all local, with ¾ living within two miles, including three on site. This has a lower environmental impact from reduced travelling.
As shown on BBC Countryfile, a sow and piglets were sold to the Cotswold Farm Park to improve the breed characteristics of the Gloucestershire Old Spots pigs at the farm.
Eggs from both West of England Geese and Campbell Khaki Ducks are now on sale from a local outlet within two miles.
A new vat has been installed in the creamery, to increase capacity and reduce energy and labour costs. The added capacity will enable more efficient use of labour and energy. All the cooling systems have been overhauled to ensure that they are running at peak efficiency to reduce energy usage.
Orders have been placed for the installation of more sophisticated electrical monitoring equipment, which will allow a more detailed analysis of energy usage to be carried out. Electricity usage is now being tracked on a weekly basis to discern trends in usage. Up to now, changes in equipment in recent years have meant that energy use comparisons have had little value. With a more stable equipment base these comparisons should yield more useful information.
This year an Excelsior of Taynton Walnut has been introduced to the farm, one of the old Gloucestershire varieties previously thought to be extinct.
A pond survey has been carried out which has confirmed that all three native species of newt are inhabiting the ponds on the farm.