Last year a number of Chestnut chefs took a trip to Fen Farm Dairy, a key supplier of Chestnut dairy products. The team were transported to the delicate ecosystems of the Waveney River Valley and the Fen Farm team showcased the care that is put into their beloved herd and land.
MEET JONNY CRICKMORE, DIRECTOR AND FARM MANAGER
Jonny is the third generation of the Crickmore family to run Fen Farm. He has been working on the farm since the age of four, when he would sneak out of bed at 3am and follow his Dad to the cowshed to help with the morning jobs. Now there is a little less sneaking involved but no fewer early mornings and wild enthusiasm. In Jonny’s spare time he’s the chairman of the Raw Milk Producers Association and vice chairman of the Specialist Cheesemakers Association.
We asked Jonny a few questions about life in the farming industry.
Can you tell us a little bit about Fen Farm and your ethos?
We are a real Dairy Farm and do the whole process from start to finish - from looking after the land and rearing the animals, to creating the end product that goes out in its packaging; which makes us quite unique. We have a passion for making high quality products, alongside a continuing strive to be greener.
How do you use sustainable practice to enhance your business?
We are committed to playing our part in creating a more sustainable future. For the customers buying our products, it is important for them to know that their food is coming from sustainable sources. Energy and heating is produced here on site - solar panels are used for energy production, and heating is provided by a strawburner and also the cow manure heat exchange; allowing us to make use of material produced on the farm, rather than fossil fuels. Putting the focus on high quality rather than the highest yields allows for greener methods of farming, for example: less concentrates need to be brought in, as the milk is coming from what we have grown. In terms of the land, we are rewilding 58 acres, including the reinstatement of old ponds, which will support more habitats to get established.
What is your opinion on the governments published Food Strategy?
The support for farmers and UK food production is a step in the right direction, and encouraging farmers to diversify and grow a variety of foods is a positive. However, there needs to be a continued focus and support from the Government on this.
How is food inflation/cost of living effecting Fen Farm?
Whilst we do have some more control over what is produced here on farm; for items that we buy in, such as packaging, the costs have increased enormously.
Thank you to Jonny and the team at Fen Farm Dairy for our team of chefs and sharing insights into sustainable dairy farming.
To learn more about Fen Farm Dairy click here