My Dorset Farm - Dorset magazine meets farmer Jason Barber from Seaborough Manor
PUBLISHED: 14:48 03 September 2012 | UPDATED: 21:49 20 February 2013
My Dorset Farm
Dairy farmer Jason Barber from Seaborough Manor tells us about how his herds milk goes into both award-winning cheese and the smoothest creamiest vodka in the land
It has been a wet summer, happily we had a break from the rain this morning. My eldest son Johnny, nearly three, accompanies me on the farm most mornings, back at base my wife Sally looks after our new four-month-old boy Oscar. While Sally gets on with the farm accounts, I take Johnny to meet Joseph who has brought my 250 cows in from the field and milked them on average each cow gives me about 25 litres of milk.
At the moment my Swedish red bull is running with my Holstein Friesians, the off-spring of which I hope to breed with my new Fleckvieh bull, and their offspring should produce my black cows. They calve from 1st April up to Christmas Day. Through the week the milk goes off to Ashley Chase, where its used to make Ford Farm Wooky Hole cave-aged Cheddar, which was crowned Supreme Champion at the International Cheese Awards. On Friday the milk goes to Ditcheat to make Barbers 1833 Cheddar winner of the World Cheese Awards Cheddar Trophy 2012.
Around lunchtime I tend to go home with Johnny and have a cup of green tea as I go through my emails and see what our new business Black Cow Pure Milk Vodka (a vodka made purely from cows milk) has in store for us.
I set myself the challenge of producing a vodka using the milk from my own herd now we have what Ithink is the smoothest vodka in the world
We launched our new business in May, the idea was born from my desire to diversify the produce from my herd (not to mention my keen interest in vodka!) Id learnt about the Tuva, a nomadic Siberian tribe, who for many centuries have been distilling Araka, a vodka made from fermented mares milk. This really caught my imagination, and prompted me to set myself the challenge of producing a vodka using the milk from my own herd. We did it and now we have what I think is the smoothest vodka in the world. Its all about happy cows and the secret blending process Ive developed.
After Ive finished my emails, I have a farmers soup (tomato soup with a dash of Black Cow Vodka) and then I go over to Childhay Manor to meet up with my partners, Archie, his other half Helen and Neil to get on with some Black Cow Vodka business. Currently were busy refining our product, setting-up systems, taking new orders aswell as ironing out the designs, marketing and general organising of the new business.
Archie and I are putting together orders for Felicitys and Millers famshops as well as River Cottage. We also have a big order for the new Land Rover launch party, where one of the celebs attending will be James Bond actor, Daniel Craig; our vodka is being served on the tables. Local boy Mark Hix is Head Chef that night. Hes been a terrific supporter of our vodka and sells it in all his restaurants hemakes a very tasty Bloody Black Cow tomato dish thats on his new London restaurant Tramsheds menu. The recipe was in The Independent last month. After all that I go home to my family and Sally and I enjoy a long Black Cow and tonic before bed.
About Jasons farm
The Barber family have been farming since the early 1800s if not before. Jasons father moved to Seaborough Manor in 1958. In 2000 Jason took on his fathers farm and started his own business, dairy farming. The business covers 370 acres; Jason owns 100 acres and rents 150 acres from his father and a further 120 acres from his immediate neighbours. The business milks 250 cows and breeds its own replacement cows, of which there are about 100 animals. In summer the cows graze the grass and in the winter they are brought in and fed grass silage and maize. For more info visit http://blackcowvodka.wordpress.com