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UK Dairy Farm makes the most out of their herd
September 3, 2014

A family dairy in Devon not only uses its herd of cows to provide milk, they also help to sell the products too.

Langage Farm, in Smithaleigh, near Plymouth has found that the friendly face of Devon has made it a favourite with customers internationally.

Gorgeous Jersey and Guernsey cows like Enid, Nora and Flo have become a unique selling point for the company that employs 55 people and has a forecasted turnover of £4.3million this year, up from £2.9 million in 2013.

Becky Smith, quality manager a Langage Farm said: “The cows are very important to us, the packaging always featured a cow but we livened it up a bit to make the most of their own individual characters and we all have our favourite cows.

“Devon has a friendly reputation anyway and our talking cows fit really well into that idea.”

Langage Farm sources milk for its products from its own 280-strong herd that graze near the farmhouse where it all began.

Decades ago, Elizabeth Harvey and husband Len used to make cream to sell to villagers.

Len is still involved with the business, as is son James as managing director and grandson Ben.

The business has grown from 100 acres in 1957 to 400 acres today and supplies more than 1,000 shops including the top supermarkets.

It moved to a £1.8 million purpose built factory at Lee Mill in 2004 with an anaerobic digester in 2009.

All of its waste from the farm is used to power the factory and heat the offices.

From small beginnings selling pots of clotted cream, the company has expanded its range to include cottage cheese, cream cheese, yoghurts, creme-fraiche, 45-flavours of ice cream and rice pudding.

“It is our diverse range of products that help us do well throughout the year.

“We see a very big seasonal variation in the popularity of our products.

“At Christmas, clotted cream is very popular but as soon as January hits, sales take a plummet.

“Then sales of yoghurt and cottage cheese go up because everyone is on a diet.”

The company also sources milk from nearby farmers and uses Sayers organic farm in the South Hams to make Holy Cow organic cottage cheese, sold in Waitrose stores.

It is a huge sales area for the company.

Becky said: “We have seen a massive rise in organic sales from 2,000 a week in 2010 to 6,000 a week this year.

“There are many people claiming health benefits of the organic cottage cheese but at the end of the day, it is a good product and people really like it.”

The company says that provenance is key to good business with customers wanting to know where their food comes from.

Langage Farm is part of the Red Tractor scheme and carries the marque on its clotted cream and cheese products.

The assurance scheme ensures that food is traceable, safe to eat and has been produced responsibly – from farms to fork.

Red Tractor Week takes place from September 15 – 21.

Becky said: “People are willing to pay a little bit more money for good quality products.

“Our customers like to know the provenance and where things come from.

“Food miles are very important, they don’t want to have milk shipped in from around the world and they want to be assured that the product is what it says it is.”

The company has won many awards for its products including champion at Devon County Show for many years and gold at the National Cheese Awards in 2012.

New lines include frozen yoghurt, four-pack cheese, sour cream and yoghurt products and an ice cream range for high-street confectioners Thorntons.

It has also become well known for its range of 45 ice-cream flavours including Thunder and Lightning.

Becky said: “It is based on an old Devon favourite of golden syrup and clotted cream that once would have been eaten on a bread roll.

“Ours has chewy honeycomb and is really delicious and very popular with customers.”

Source: Western Morning News


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