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It seems that each time we write this blog, there is another 'first' for us to celebrate.  As you know, we were the first dairy in the UK to provide Free Range Milk, and now you can be the very first to buy our Free Range Crumbly Lancashire cheese.  Last month, we trialed Stephensons Creamy Lancashire, and it was so popular that we quickly sold out!  Fans will be pleased to hear that the next batch is gently maturing to give that rich, smooth taste that you loved so much.  Stephensons Crumbly Lancashire is a lighter flavour, perfect sliced into a barm with a good chutney.  Our cheese is available along with all Stephensons milk deliveries, as well as Altrincham Market, Ancoats General Store and Billy's egg stall in Lancaster.

We are also celebrating the launch of Stephensons Free Range milk in 24 Booths supermarkets across the North, enabling customers outside of our delivery area to join our herd - we've received some lovely comments on our Facebook and Twitter pages from some brand new customers.  We also love welcoming new coffee shops to our herd, including one of our newest editions, Common Ground in Altrincham, owned by 3 Olympian athletes who know a thing or two about the health benefits of milk.

Meanwhile, lets hope we can enjoy a little more sunshine this summer - although the cows out in pasture are loving this rich green grass from all the recent rain.  There's a silver lining in every cloud!

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Stephensons Free Range available in Booths from 1st July!

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As the first company in the UK to launch pasture promise free range milk, we're delighted to let you know that Booths supermarket will be stocking our free range milk.  Not only are our customers enjoying its great taste, but also enjoying the fact that the milk is providing farmers with a sustainable future. Knowing where the milk comes from is becoming increasingly important as we are more aware of sustainability and food origins.

But it’s not just the farmers that benefit.  Free range eggs are almost the norm now, and we want the same benefits for dairy cows. Cows are inquisitive creatures and natural grazers, so the commitment of the farmers to keep their cows outside means happier cows, which reflects in the high quality of the milk.

In addition to the creamy colour and taste, it froths beautifully.  Our Free Range Milk was chosen for the recent UK Barista Championships, as we believe the best coffee deserves our best milk. So many of us now enjoy the luxury of a home coffee machine, why not try Free Range Milk in your next cappuccino or latte to experience the difference?

Make sure you keep up-to-date with all our latest news and recipes by signing up to our newsletter here.

Image kindly supplied by  Morecambe Carnival / www.morecambecarnival.org

Image kindly supplied by  Morecambe Carnival / www.morecambecarnival.org

This month, we start to celebrate fairs and festivals across the country – some of these have traditions going back centuries.  My personal favourite is still Morecambe Carnival.

The festival scene seems to grow every year - from iconic music events such as Glastonbury, to local events like our very own Kite Festival - you can bet you’ll find something going on in a field or park near you most weekends throughout the summer. But I’m not sure that as a nation we think enough about how much our farming community is woven into the very fabric of our society and rural traditions. 

It’s a sad fact that 1 in 10 dairy farms closed between 2013 and 2016.  As the price of milk continues to come under pressure, our Free Range milk ensures that local farmers are paid a fair price to keep cows grazing in fields. 

The Fair Trade concept is so widely accepted now, that we rarely buy tea or coffee without considering if the plantation workers or coffee farmers are paid a fair price. By choosing Free Range you know that from the drop of milk in your cuppa, to the rich creamy froth of your cappuccino - you are making Fair Trade as important at home as it is overseas.

We really hope you have a wonderful time celebrating the great British countryside this summer.  See you at Morecambe Carnival in August! 

Free Range Milk is hitting the headlines

Since Free Range Milk hit the news on Friday 20th January, courtesy of Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday night feast, our feet haven’t touched the ground.  Press attention has spread, local TV have interviewed us twice and our story is gathering momentum.  Watch the video clip below. 

The immediate result has been a nationwide partnership with Asda, meaning Free Range Milk from the Pasture Promise partnership is now an accessible everyday choice for everyone who wants to help sustain this country’s dairy industry.   This is of course a fantastic development.  But our work doesn’t stop there! 

In the North West we are in talks with three major retailers to bring local free range milk to a wider audience.  Keep talking to your preferred supermarket chains, and we’ll do all we can to make our milk available to you everywhere we can across the region.  Sign up to our newsletter to hear when supply opens up in your area. 

As well as that, we have been working on expanding our product range!  For the past few months we have been trialling Free Range Lancashire cheese with our customers.  If you are a regular visitor to Lancaster you may have spotted this, and our Free Range Butter on Billy’s Eggs market stall and the Butcher’s Chop on Market Street.   

Free Range Milk is long overdue – you heard it, and bought it here first.

 

An article in The Times today talks about how surprising it is that Free Range Milk has not caught on before now.  Quite right.  Why the idea didn’t surface at the same time as Free Range eggs, we’ll never know.  People must care just as much about cows as chickens surely?  But maybe we’re biased.  In any case, it looks like 2017 is going to be another good year for animal welfare.  This is great news for us because it will be much easier to explain to people what we are trying to do in dairy farming. 

When Chris and I started working towards fully segregated production and processing of Free Range Milk in 2013 it felt like a bit of a fool’s errand.  How on earth could we be part of creating a sustainable future for the British dairy industry, in the face of such huge established operators?  Talk about David and Goliath.   But here we are at the start of 2017, not even two years on from the launch of the UK’s first Free Range Milk here in Morecambe Bay, and the idea is starting to gain interest from the right people. 

This Friday at 8 pm, Neil Darwent will be appearing on Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast.  Neil is a multi-award winning farmer, and also the originator of the Pasture Promise animal welfare and milk processing standards behind Free Range Milk.  We were the first company to successfully turn Free Range Milk from an idea into a product delivered to your door.  So the milk you drink, from the farm we work with, will be getting its TV screen debut on Friday during Neil’s interview with Jamie and Jimmy. As you can imagine, we’ll be holding our own mini party!

When you get people like Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty behind ideas like Free Range Milk, you know more people will start to listen.  We have known from the outset that being able to pay farmers more, while working to improve animal welfare ‘and’ product quality, has to be a good thing for everyone.  Now far more people will be able to hear about the idea and get to decide for themselves. 

Let's hope the press attention keeps building and Free Range Milk becomes what everyone buys as standard.  But before we get to that point, we just wanted to say thank you to all of our supporters for backing us before the idea took hold. 

Our business is founded in the Morecambe Bay community and we would be nothing without our local customers and collaborators.  From our roots as a doorstep delivery business we now also supply to a growing range of customers, independent coffee shops and restaurants across the North West who care about the quality of the ingredients they use. 

We hope you enjoy the programme on Friday and we’re really looking forward to working with you in 2017.  Happy New Year from all at Stephensons Dairy!   

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