Gearing up for Christmas, we have been farmers and retailers over the last few weeks. We have been preparing the yards and building for the cows ready for the winter months; ensuring they produce well for the Christmas Cream Bonanza is another matter. The bulk of our silage was made late this year, so it lacks the goodness that you would expect from spring-made silage – poor silage means poor milk yield. We are having to buy in organic maize to boost the energy in their diet, this is very expensive, but let's hope for a better year next year.
We have been visiting the stores and farm shops that we supply, promoting our products in the lead-up to Christmas, it always amazes me how interested and proud local people are in their local foods. Some farmers shy away from the public interest in farming, but it is the best promotional tool that we have, local food has honesty, integrity and employment. Young children are always taught the wonders of tractors and animals in children's books, but it is rarely followed through into commerce and food.
Somebody once said: "I like food, I never eat anything else", a silly comment maybe, but it does outline how we take food for granted. British farmers are among the best in the world and it's a shame that cheap imports undercut the value of British produce.
Staff at Ivy House are in a particularly good mood now, partly as they look forward to the silly season, but mainly because they are busy making our brandy creams, and not surprisingly, a little of the golden liquid seems to go missing each day.
We had considered feeding the cows brandy so they produce brandy milk, but we could foresee problems getting them to stand up in the milking parlour.
Happy Christmas to all the lovely people who buy our milk and cream, you make our herd of cows very happy.