Episode 32 Tom Foot
Co Founder of the Open Air Dairy

In this episode we’re going to learn alot about dairy farming, milk and happy cows.  Grab a notebook, there is a lot to learn!

Tom Foot and Neil Grigg are too humble to say this, but in building up their Open Air Dairy, they’ve become true pioneers in their industry. What they do is awesome.  Cows that live 13 years instead of 3 in intensive farming, less antibiotics, happier cows, happier humans, happier fields, awesome milk and cheese…what they’ve achieved is exciting for the future of farming.

Like many tenant farmers, they didn’t have hundreds of thousands of pounds to build conventional sheds and indoor milking systems.  So when a fantastic farm came their way, they had to think outside the box. Or as one observer put it, they took the box, ripped it up completely and threw it away! 

Inspired by a farmer in the 1920s, they’ve transformed second-hand trailers and bails into mobile milking parlours. Instead of herding their cattle to a shed every day, they take the sheds direct to the cows. Everything really is done in the open air, all year round! 

What started as a cost-saving exercise – and the figures will astound you – has thrown up so many more benefits: great tasting milk; family-friendly working hours and super-relaxed cattle. I should know. A few of them enjoyed rubbing themselves against me as I recorded this conversation with Tom.   

Enjoy my nervousness as I work out whether they are bulls or heffers.

Episode 23 Emily Davis
Blue Vinny Cheese

‘Unique’ is often misused as a word, but this week you’ll hear about a delicious food product that really is one of a kind.  In the early 1980s, dairy farmer Michael Davies resurrected a 300 year-old recipe for Dorset Blue Vinny – a subtly veined cheese which is much more delicate than Stilton, its nearest relative.   

Nowadays, Michael’s daughter Emily is in charge of production – overseeing the only farm in the world that has the legal right to produce this type of blue cheese. 

Today you’ll hear how the patient Davies family had to put up with blue mould on their cornflakes, in the early days of Michael’s cheese experiments…and why Emily describes beta versions as ‘nuclear’! 

You’ll also discover how a disappointing trip to a farmers’ market led to a whole new branch of the Blue Vinny business…and why wonky cucumbers and misshapen cheese off-cuts have a special place in Emily’s heart… 

Enjoy the conversation… 

Episode 14
Ceri Cryer – Brinkworth Dairy

In 1910 Ceri Cryer’s great-grandfather established the country’s first ever pedigree Friesian herd of cows, in a beautiful corner of Wiltshire.

A hundred years later, Ceri is doing her family’s farming history proud: the Friesian descendants produce the milk which Ceri turns into award-winning cheeses – from the traditional Wiltshire Loaf to newcomers, such as the oozilyunctiuous  Royal Bassett Blue.

In this conversation we discover where Wiltshire cheeses feature in Jane Austin’s novels…and how each batch of Ceri’s cheese is influenced by a mind-blowing number of factors, starting from the herbs her cows nibble in the fields

That’s in addition to exploring the real cost of milk and yoghurt, and why Ceri is unlikely to give you a discount, but her husband Chad might …

Plus you’ll get Ceri’s top tips on how not to waste a crumb of food.  This includes feeding leftover home-made mead to the pigs, with some interesting results….

Enjoy the conversation

Episode 12
James Whetlor – Cabrito Goats

Cabrito’s mission is to put all billy goats born in to the dairy industry into the meat industry. Ex-chef James Whetlor knew he could something about the plight of the male billy goats, who are historically euthanised at birth in the dairy industry.

James realised that goat meat had potential when his roast goat leg with lentils, salsa verde and chive flowers flew off the menu at the River Cottage Canteen around 8 years ago. Soon after, James sold his first kids to one of the Great British Chefs, Jeremy Lee at Quo Vadis. Since then his customer base has grown to include more award-winning restaurants… and with Goatober, he wants hundreds of other venues to include goat on the menu.

In fact, Cabrito has a global vision: to inspire every meat-eater – from Europe to India and Australia to America – to put goat meat on their shopping list at least once a month. Why don’t we do that now? As you’ll hear it’s down to a very strange quirk of history, which has led to millions of billies needlessly disappearing.

James is International Director of Goatober working with partners in America, Europe and Australia and is consultant for the European ‘Food Heroes’ project, which aims to end food waste in farming across the EU. James’ first book GOAT: Cooking and Eatinghas been widely acclaimed as genre-defining and is nominated for a James Beard award 2019.

This episode is a must listen.  Enjoy.