UK: Special Dairy Award for Acorn
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
The Soil Association Organic Food Awards this year featured a special dairy award for Best Organic Dairy, with Acorn Dairy of Darlington taking the prize. The award was based on extra criteria including farm management, conservation, animal welfare and community involvement, as well as taste, the Soil Association reports. Acorn outperformed other group and individual finalists and their story and business model provides inspiration for farmers and consumers alike. (Picture: Acorn Dairy Director Caroline Tweddle with Graham Tweddle)
Acorn Dairy has been family-run at Archdeacon Newton since 1928 through four generations. In common with many consumers, they became increasingly concerned about the quality of the food they and their children were eating and its traceability. As a consequence, in 1998, they began conversion of Garthorne at Archdeacon Newton and Hallwith Farm near Leyburn in Wensleydale to organic status. Their two herds are managed by a dedicated team. While all Soil Association certified dairies necessarily adhere to high standards of animal welfare, Acorn’s exemplary practices were highlighted for particular praise. Central to this is a high level of time spent with their animals, ensuring any problems can be caught and treated early. The farm has also been recognised for their commitment to biodiversity and energy conservation. Working closely with RSPB volunteers, the farm now boasts over 70 bird species. The farm’s milking parlour is fitted with solar panels and a smart energy system generates hot water for the parlour wash-out. Autumn 2012 will hopefully also see Acorn's own wind turbine, which will supply directly the farm’s energy needs. Providing local food for local people at competitive prices is also integral to Acorn’s entire farming philosophy.
The farm hosts regular customer days/evenings over 3-4 days or long weekends as well as open days and school visits. Acorn are constantly reaching out to customers with regular news/promotions included on bills as well incentives for recommending to new customers. They also run promotions during school holidays when not supplying schools and supply milk to local charity events. (Picture: Graham Tweddle)
Acorn supplies to diverse and all local customers. Milk and other products are delivered to 4000 customers directly to their door overnight by their own delivery vans three times per week. They also supply 120 local schools, approximately 200 local restaurants, farm shops and delis as well as Riverford, Goosemoore and Organic Pantry box schemes. Acorn’s products are also available at Waitrose (Newcastle and Hexham) and Morrisons northern stores from Northumberland to Yorkshire. They also provide online ordering of their own products plus a selection of groceries, local organic eggs and bread which was built up in response to customer requests. More information is available here: http://www.acorndairy.co.uk/.
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