I am standing on a ridge overlooking a valley with a classic pastoral view falling away from me: a patchwork of hedgerow-edged fields dotted with cows.
The wind blows and the trees sway – a timeless scene of the English countryside. Some of the herd are small brown Jerseys, others are slightly bigger with the familiar black and white markings of the Friesians that have populated our countryside over the past half-century. This is the dairy herd of Holy Cow Organics in North Perrott, 40-minutes down the road from Sherborne and supplier of the milk sold in our shop and used at the café and restaurant.
And holy moly, it is good milk. It is rich and sweet, with a mild yet characterful flavour. It is organic and unhomogenised, with a thick band of cream that rises to the top overnight. This is milk that harks back to another time, when milk came straight from the farm, and we were all more connected to where our food came from. It is also milk that nutritionists and parents love. Rich in protein and high in butterfat and essential amino acids, it’s more digestible as well as more nourishing than conventional milk, with no additives or preservatives.
‘One of the reasons our milk is so good is the range of crops we grow for grazing, including red and white clover, lucerne, rye grasses and other species,’ says farmer Matthew Senior. Automatic gates allow access to different grazing areas, changing the direction of the gates to send cows into the different pastures, making sure that they graze a combination of crops, and protecting the land and growth of the different areas.‘The dryness of this past summer was quite a challenge, and we had to go to our winter forage but we’ve made it through ok,’ he says.