I’ve just been on a Cumbria Chamber of Commerce visit to Park House Organic Cheese Farm at Torpenhow (pronounced TrePENa).
Mostly I dread (and avoid) the food at business events as it invariably consists of tables laden with processed beige – a health-damaging carb fest guaranteed to send everyone snoozy afterwards.
Not at Park House Farm. How fabulous is this?
And of course their milk to drink. (Plus some Zingi Bear organic ginger switchel – but I’ll tell you about that another time.)
Park House milk is the real thing. Creamy and delicious with all the nutrition that should be in milk.
(Timely perhaps that this piece on ‘not milks’ popped on Twitter the other day.)
Mark and Jenny told us how they had come to run this inspirational farm the way they do.
When the milk price crashed in 2015 and it was costing 28p/l to produce milk which they could only sell for 15p/l, they realised that they would need to change direction or go bankrupt.
They decided to go organic and to work with nature instead of battling against it. No fertiliser. No herbicides, no pesticides.
They split their fields into smaller paddocks, replanting hedgerows removed decades before during the time of intensification. They removed the problem of slurry by keeping the cows outside instead of indoors making Park House the only 100% pasture-fed farm in Cumbria. They use mob-grazing to move the cows around the paddocks. They embrace weeds and use lots of different types of plants in their grass – especially clover which is a natural nitrogen fixer.
It took time for their artificial-nitrogen addicted grass to get over the shock, but now it is the lushest, healthiest grass I’ve ever seen and took quite some effort to wade through as we walked up the field to see the cows.
And what beautiful cows they were. So healthy and content, fed only on grass and organic silage.
Living at the mercy of the milk buyers was a stressful life so Mark and Jenny started to make cheese with their milk. You can buy it at the farm, locally in good food shops like Shill’s of Cockermouth and from the farm’s online shop. There’s cheddar, the nicest brie I’ve ever eaten, a crumbly Lancashire, one oak smoked and Binsey Red which I particularly enjoyed. And I await with eager anticipation the return to production of their blue.
You’ll be hearing more about the Torpenhow Cheese Farm later.
Top tip – Treat yourself to some Torpenhow organic cheese.
PS – there’s a petition asking the new PM to work for nature by supporting organic farming. Here’s the link to sign.