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Category Archives: Gazegill in the Press

Gazegill Get “Highly Commended” For Diversification Innovator of the Year at the British Farming Awards

Celebrating the creative thinking, innovation and dedication of Britain’s farmers

Farmers Guardian received an overwhelming number of entries from farmers across the UK for the 2014 British Farming Awards.

The awards aim to celebrate innovative and determined farmers who have, and are, making changes to their business in a bid to successfully grow and secure a future in British agriculture.

Farmers Guardian editor Emma Penny said: “To receive such a great level of entries in what is only the event’s second year is amazing”.

The finalists were each interviewed by a member of the Farmers Guardian team. The results of the indepth interviews were discussed by the 33-strong panel of judges who are responsible for deciding the overall winners.

The winners were announced at the awards presentation evening, this year being held at Chateau Impney Hotel, Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire, on Thursday, October 23. We are very proud to have been “Highly Commended” for Diversification Innovator of the Year.

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Diversification Innovator of the Year

‘If you have successfully taken an idea, from conception, through research and planning to the successful delivery of an on farm project which has enhanced your farm income and added value to your farming business then you could be a real contender for this year’s Diversification Innovator award.

Time, in today’s very busy world, is at a premium so to successfully develop a new business alongside your existing farming operation shows that you have the commitment, drive, ability to think creatively, and courage to try something new. We share many of the same values at Santander and look forward to meeting you.’


Gazegill.jpgGazegill Organic Farm

The list of developments which have turned Lower Gazegill Farm in Lancashireinto a thriving business is long. It includes sales of raw and un-homogenised organic milk from the 60-cow Dairy Shorthorn herd, as well as direct and online sales of pork, lamb, beef, veal and mutton processed in the farm butchery. There is also an education facility and a care farm, which takes in adults with learning difficulties on a day-visitor basis. These clients grow herbs and edible flowers which are offered for sale.

“We have two main brands; Gazegill Organics and Emma’s Dairy, which is named after my wife,” says Ian O’Reilly. “Adding value to our organic milk, through processing and direct sales, has allowed us to keep our dairy herd. There is a growing demand for raw milk and milk, but any surplus is sold through an organic co-operative; it is currently worth 43ppl.

“We are close to Clitheroe, although without easy access from the main road. That means we have to deliver our products to customers and also try to attract them to our on-site butchery.

“Social media has proved to be a great way of boosting our online sales and we find Twitter and Facebook particularly useful. Our website is updated on a regular basis, to keep existing and potential clients informed about what is happening on the farm. We send off between 80-140 boxes of milk and meat every week and when we launched our home-produced bacon on the internet, it sold out within an hour.”

Ian and Emma’s track record on communicating with the public about farming is impressive.

“We hosted more than 260 free educational and school visits last year; this is something we feel very passionate about,” adds Ian. “Our farming ethos has always been to put in more than we take out.”

Home Farmer Feature on Gazegill ‘Raw Milk – a Real Treat from Bygone Times’

Food is political, but milk is extremely political. Farmers complain about the payment they receive for it, and the government doesn’t want to offend the farming community, but what the group farmers are complaining about includes supermarkets, and the government really doesn’t want to offend them. Supermarkets require milk as a loss-leader (together with bananas, apparently), and anything which interferes with their ability to sell it at a ridiculously cheap price narks them – presumably a significant rise in milk deliveries to the doorstep will work against this overall plan too.

The folks at Gazegill Farm in the Pennines have taken the unusual step of delivering both organic raw milk – a real treat from bygone times – and pasteurised non-homogenised milk, both as daily deliveries over a wide locality (as far afield as Leeds, in fact), and as an Internet product across the nation, packaged in sheep’s wool insulation to maintain a refrigerated temperature for up to 48 hours. I was looking forward to seeing just how such an operation might work, and equally for some fighting talk about the politics of milk distribution in the 21st century.

Edible flowers in a polytunnel at Gazegill Farm.

But sometimes you arrive at a place and appreciate that there is a wider tale to tell – a tale of a family which has farmed the same fields for over 500 years, and has now taken control of many of the factors affecting the quality and reliability of its produce; a farm which has enjoyed organic status since 1999 (although its principles have always been organic), and has taken charge of all the day-to-day jobs such as onsite butchering and retailing from a busy farm shop; and most recently has set up a care farm producing edible herbs and flowers which offers day-to-day activities for adults with learning difficulties, physical disabilities or mental health needs. In addition, the farm also welcomes school parties, youth groups and families to visit the premises, and has even converted a large building into a learning centre to enable people to reconnect with the food they eat, and it offers the chance of work placements together with events and seminars with external speakers.

At present they are working to develop their campsite to further enable external involvement with the workings of the farm, together with many other bold and innovative ideas which will enable them to do even more good work.

pic 3 copyAlthough Gazegill Farm has involvements in many different areas, it still remains a working commercial farm with cattle, pigs and sheep, and polytunnels, which are used for the care farm’s production of edible herbs and flowers. They now sell packs of edible wild flowers from the farm, and use only their own farm-grown herbs when producing sausages for sale in the farm shop.

The day-to-day running of the farm is in the hands of Ian O’Reilly and Emma Robinson, although the previous generation is still very active, and their hands-on experience often proves invaluable, as no doubt will Ian and Emma’s when their own children take over. Talking with them makes it clear that their principal concern is the quality of the produce which leaves the farm, together with a broader concern for the diet of many people today – a result of the rock-bottom prices we are now prepared to pay for our food as a result of a downward drive in prices fuelled by a dramatic reduction in the quality of food originating from intensively run farms and food manufacturers prepared to buy from anywhere if the price is right. Remember the horsemeat scare not so long ago?

The provision of raw (unpasteurised, non-homogenised) milk is a point in question. In its homogenised and pasteurised state, milk is devoid of many of the positive bacteria which benefit our bodies – bacteria which are ironically being returned to dairy products by major manufacturers but in a much less natural way than nature intended. There are few arguments about the broader health benefits of raw milk, but of concern to some is the question of the bad things it might contain without the pasteurisation process. Research has, however, shown that of the seventy-eight or so farms which are licensed to provide raw milk, none have been recorded as the source of E. coli or any other health problem; perhaps because anyone prepared to take on the extra challenge of providing raw milk to the public is almost certainly concerned about the quality and reputation of their product. pic 5 copy

Another safeguard is the strict regulation covering any farm retailing raw milk. Rulings range from a requirement that such farms use only mains water in the dairy, to a requirement that retailing is only done from the farm to the end-user without the participation of a middleman or wholesaler, and these are just some examples of the regulations applied. Scrupulous cleanliness and hygiene are certainly foremost in the minds of all at Gazegill Farm, to ensure that their product reaches the public in immaculate condition.

 

Dairy Shorthorn cattle.

But Ian and Emma also look to the well-being of their herd to make sure that the product is the best possible. Their herd is not the usual Friesian stock, but rather rare breed dairy shorthorn cattle – the original choice of the British dairy farmer many years ago, and a producer of rich milk which most people today have probably not had the good fortune to try. The cattle are left to roam at their discretion, and Ian and Emma only intervene if the cattle make it clear they want human intervention. The livestock is also not fed a constant diet of concentrates to bolster milk production, so what is collected is produced as part of a natural cycle, and the cattle even more or less choose when to turn up for each milking session.

So, sourcing the product is well taken care of, but that’s only half the problem. In today’s market you really need to provide your product direct to the market with a minimum of fuss for the consumer, and that’s where the supermarkets have got most people – producers and consumers – over a barrel. Only Amazon has done a better job than the supermarkets of tying up all markets, and for most people the weekly pilgrimage to a store is now a permanent fixture. Consequently, any seller/producer has to have two aces up their sleeve – a cracking product and an almost effortless means of getting the product to you. Ian and Emma have covered the local area, with home deliveries; not by milk float, but rather by van; but because they are covering the Manchester, Leeds and Bradford areas, a speed of less than ten miles per hour would leave too many people without their delivery.

The innovative sheep's wool insulation.

For deliveries further afield they have used the Internet constructively, selling quantities to cover a week or even a month to offset the inevitable higher cost of using a courier, but offering a greater quantity which will last for days if refrigerated, or even six months in a freezer. The packaging is innovative too – a sheep’s wool insulation pack which maintains a refrigerated environment for up to 48 hours, guaranteeing a fresh and even a chilled product for the recipient. The sheep’s wool is also totally natural, so is easy to dispose of and can probably be composted. This, however, is another ongoing headache for Ian and Emma, as they would like to recycle and reuse the packaging in the spirit of recycling and keeping down costs.

There is only one effective difference from the point of view of customers: sadly, deliveries cannot realistically take place before breakfast as with the traditional milk rounds. But that’s really a small price to pay for your extra-special pinta from an extra-special farm.

Reasons for drinking raw milk
* Raw milk is probiotic, for a naturally healthy gut.
* The enzymes are alive and enable a better calcium uptake.
* Raw milk contains whole fats, and no trans-fats like homogenised milk.
* Raw milk is a wholefood.
* It has a great taste that will really take you back.

Emma and Ian.

Visit www.gazegillorganics.co.uk to find out more about this historic farm and how it is providing its raw drinking milk to a new and appreciative market in the 21st century. The farm is very welcoming and encourages visits from schools and organisations wishing to reconnect with the nation’s food production.

Anonymous

About the Author:

Paul Melnyczuk is editor of Home Farmer, and together with Ruth Tott is the founder of the company. His Ukrainian father and Austrian mother came over in the 1950s, and he was raised near Accrington (of Stanley fame) in Lancashire. With a degree in European Literature and a year spent living in Sweden, and a further 2 years in the Sudan, his background is rich and varied.

Gazegill On The BBC Inside Out North West ‘Could Ribble Valley be the model for UK farming?’

INSIDE-OUT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re really pleased to have featured on the BBC this week. As you no doubt know we’re passionate about animal welfare and we’ve been reaching out across Lancashire and the wider UK and engaging with people who share our values ; together we can help make a difference

‘Ribble valley in Lancashire has been fighting to restore consumer confidence in its products since the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in 2001.

It has introduced a unique system of food production which aims to transform thinking about food by emphasising trust and provenance. Could this be a model for the rest of the UK?

Watch the video feature on the BBC News website.’ From the BBC’s website.

 

 

 

 

 

INSIDE-OUT-iplayer

 

Have you visited our online shop? We have a number of carefully selected products you can be confident are from happy animals.

First time you’ve ordered from us and have questions about your order? Fill out our contact form and we’ll call you back at your convenience or buy online, quickly, safely and conveniently

Buy With Confidence. We Are Raw Milk Licensed

Raw Cows Milk… We are one of only a handfull of farms in the UK that is licensed to sell raw drinking milk, milk which is straight from the cow and as nature intended. The milk contains all the healthy bacteria that we need to maintain a healthy gut and the enzymes are alive making it easier for us to absorb calcium, not to mention that the real white stuff tastes great – the more processes milk has to endure, the poorer the taste. We take great care to ensure that the milking plant and our cows are squeaky clean giving us the confidence to sell our milk knowing it is the perfect pint. If you would like more information about raw milk please contact us, the milk is available from the farm shop and we also deliver around the farm and to Manchester, Leeds and Bradford areas… try the healthy alternative.
The legalities regards Raw Drinking Milk are such that it may only be sold direct by the farm to the end user… if it is coming from anywhere else its not genuine and may not be licensed.

Gazegill Organic Farm – Ribble Valley Food Trail from Tony Holker on Vimeo.

Or come and visit us and buy direct from our Farm Shop. Emma’s Dairy is situated at Lower Gazegill Farm, Rimington in the shadow of Pendle Hill and there’s lot’s to do!

Emma’s Dairy is situated at Lower Gazegill Farm, Rimington in the shadow of Pendle Hill. We have a traditional herd of Dairy Shorthorns which produce a milk high in butterfat and because of their grass and herb rich diet it is naturally higher in omega 3. We are proud of our history and the land here has been managed by the same family for nearly 500 years, our Hay Meadows have been sensitively managed during this time and are rich in flora and our girls thrive on the food they yield. During the spring many flowers can be seen, many of which are rare, and ground nesting birds such as Curlews and Lapwings are resident as well. Here at the Dairy you can find our on-farm outlet selling all of our meat and dairy produce alongside our visitor and education centre where we host free educational trips for schools and groups and during the summer months family hedgerow safaris. We welcome visitors to the farm and hope to be meeting you soon.

 

We’re In September’s Lancashire Life, Page 296 “Gazing into the Future” Feature, our thanks to @Tigger_cooks @lancashirelife

One family has farmed the same land for five centuries but they’re far from set in their ways, writes Philippa James

It’s obvious Ian O’Reilly and his partner Emma Robinson, of Gazegill Organics, are not your run-of-the-hill farmers. For instance, they work with the Galloway Society, one of Lancashire’s oldest charities, letting blind people drive tractors on the farm – under supervision of course.

And they do have the occasional drama. Most recently, the milking parlor had its electrics wiped out by a bolt of lightening. ‘At first, with the wet floor, i thought we’d lost most of the herd, but all was well’, Emma chuckles. ‘Mind you, I’ve never seen such wide awake cows!’

lancashire-life-gazegill-2-224x300 Proud to be featured in Lancashire Life

But the real reason this farm, at Rimmington, near Clitheroe, stands out from the crowd is for what it produces and the way it does it. If you ever yearned for the days when your milk came with a delicious creamy top, look no further.

This farm is one of only 78 in the UK to sell ‘green top’, which is raw, unpasteurised milk. They also sell pasteurised, where a golden band of cream sits atop the milk. What they won’t supply is homogenised, which Ian describes as ‘brutalised’ milk.

But Gazegill isn’t stuck in the past. It has an imposing new, fully-automated bottling plant and there are plans to produce raw and unpasteurised semi-skimmed and a range of organic ice creams. Working with Maurizio Bocchi, of La Locanda in Gisburn, they will also produce soft, Italian-style cheeses.

The same family has been farming at Gazegill for 500 years – a remarkable achievement. And the next generation can be seen in the form of Niamh, 10, Isabel, five, and Oliver, three. When i arrive they are patting Hyacinth, so called because for the first few days on the farm she constantly ‘bashed her bucket’.

lancashire-life-gazegill-4-224x300 butcher, Sarah Swarbrick, in the farm shop where their meat is sold to the public through the week

The farm raises dairy and beef shorthorns because they are stocky beasts which calve easily, and the milk has a good buttermilk content. According to DairyCo the ‘useful’ life of most milkers is six years, but here they often have animals well into their teens, and ‘Dad’s Cow’ is 17, a testament to good care and good grazing.

As well as producing meat from Hampshire Down sheep and a herd of very rare Oxford Sandy and Black pigs, Ian and Emma also sell rose veal. This prevents bull calves being slaughtered at birth or being exported at six weeks, often to be re-imported here as veal at £38 a kilo.

Although controversial, a wind turbine is being installed which, as well as covering the electrical needs at Gazegill, will free up funds to take on an apprentice to work alongside butcher, Sarah Swarbrick, in the farm shop where their meat is sold to the public through the week. They supply across the north west to the trade too.

On this farm, they have recently delivered a two-day-a-week ‘Gazegill Education Project‘ to help integrate those with disabilities into work environments. It has just been approved for a new ‘Care Fram Project’, a social enterprise that will provide organic herbs and each pack will have the individual ‘story’ about the student who helped cultivate them. Ian said ‘We are keen to put something back into the community’.

Meadow land at Gazegill now produces 70 species of indigenous wild flowers, the likes of foxgloves and ragged robins, which are replacing Himalayan balsam. The next project is producing a range of bedding plants and with three orchards providing apples, plums and greengages, chutney making is on the horizon.

lancashire-life-gazegill-3 September’s Lancashire Life, Page 296

The on-site, Education Centre has delivered free sessions to 250 schools and groups in the last year. When primary schools visit they tour the farm then make their own butter, fresh fruit, farm-cultured yoghurt and ice cream.

They plan a cookery school for 24 students. Ian believes we need to get ‘back to basics’ of eating healthily. ‘The best thing you can do is put good food into your body’, he said. ‘Never mind all this two chickens for a fiver’. Have you seen the conditions those hens are raised in?’ We returned to the farm from The Duke of York, at Grindleton, where chef-patron Michael Heathcote put together some sumptuous dishes using Gazegill meats.

Emma and Ian start work at 5:30am, and rarely finish before 7pm and, although there is always a freshly prepared meal on the table, the couple worry they don’t spend enough time with the children. However, seeing them running around the farm and hearing of their family outings in a semi-retired horse and carriage for picnics, i can’t think of a more idyllic way to grow up.

– article ends –

Would you like to order raw organic milk from us? Fill out our contact form and we’ll call you back at your convenience

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Buy With Confidence. We Are Raw Milk Licensed

have-you-tried-raw-milk-banner-217x300 raw milk licensed farm lancashire uk

Raw Cows Milk… We are one of only a handfull of farms in the UK that is licensed to sell raw drinking milk, milk which is straight from the cow and as nature intended. The milk contains all the healthy bacteria that we need to maintain a healthy gut and the enzymes are alive making it easier for us to absorb calcium, not to mention that the real white stuff tastes great – the more processes milk has to endure, the poorer the taste. We take great care to ensure that the milking plant and our cows are squeaky clean giving us the confidence to sell our milk knowing it is the perfect pint. If you would like more information about raw milk please contact us, the milk is available from the farm shop and we also deliver around the farm and to Manchester, Leeds and Bradford areas… try the healthy alternative.
The legalities regards Raw Drinking Milk are such that it may only be sold direct by the farm to the end user… if it is coming from anywhere else its not genuine and may not be licensed.

Gazegill-Organics-370x200-300x162 Explore Gazegill

Or come and visit us and buy direct from our Farm Shop. Emma’s Dairy is situated at Lower Gazegill Farm, Rimington in the shadow of Pendle Hill and there’s lot’s to do!

Emma’s Dairy is situated at Lower Gazegill Farm, Rimington in the shadow of Pendle Hill. We have a traditional herd of Dairy Shorthorns which produce a milk high in butterfat and because of their grass and herb rich diet it is naturally higher in omega 3. We are proud of our history and the land here has been managed by the same family for nearly 500 years, our Hay Meadows have been sensitively managed during this time and are rich in flora and our girls thrive on the food they yield. During the spring many flowers can be seen, many of which are rare, and ground nesting birds such as Curlews and Lapwings are resident as well. Here at the Dairy you can find our on-farm outlet selling all of our meat and dairy produce alongside our visitor and education centre where we host free educational trips for schools and groups and during the summer months family hedgerow safaris. We welcome visitors to the farm and hope to be meeting you soon.

 

Gazegill Farm and the Bowland family farming organically for generations – Feature in Lancashire Life

This Bowland family shuns technology to farm their land. They do it organically just as their family has done for five centuries. Emma Mayoh reports PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN COCKS

Ian OReilly and partner Emma Robinson live by one mantra. It is the one that has permeated every generation of their family during their 500 years at Gazegill Organic Farm in Rimington.

Ian said: Look after nature and it will look after you. Its a simple rule to live by but we see it working. As the current custodians of the land, our responsibility to continue farming in a sustainable and nature-led way is very important.

Instead of introducing new technologies, Emma and Ian have stuck steadfastly to using organic farming techniques on their 280 acres. They rear rare breed animals including Old English Shorthorns, which produce a milk high in butterfat and Omega 3, Hampshire Down sheep, whose diet of natural herbs and flowers in the meadows provide deliciously sweet meat and extremely rare Oxford Sandy and Black pigs. The family has their own butchery on site and are about to start their own milk producing facility too.

Parts of Gazegill Farm are classified as biological heritage sites with traditional hay meadows abundant in wild flowers, herbs and grasses. This provides a natural habitat for many birds and other wildlife.

Youll find no chemicals at Gazegill, unless in the form of medication deemed absolutely necessary. But in many cases the animals self-medicate, using herbs in the meadows. It is this organic way of farming which they believe benefits the animals they keep as well as safeguarding their future.

Emma said: The farming industry has become too reliant on new technologies, chemicals and pesticides and one day agriculture will just stop working. But we wont because we dont operate in that way.

The taste we get from the pigs is rarely found in todays world of intensively reared animals. Our milk is naturally high in Omega 3 and the health benefits from it are fantastic. Some supermarket milk may contain antibiotic residue, from when the animals are filled full of medicine to protect them out in the fields. Organic milk wont have this. It means more hard work but its the way we want and need to do it.

The couple have the help of several family members on the farm including nephew Sam as well as their children Niamh, eight, three-year-old Isabel and one-year-old Oliver.

Emma and Ian have continued a legacy first established by Tony and Jean who, despite being retired, still work on the farm. In the 60s they started school visits but now there is a dedicated education centre on the farm. In the past 12 months 150 school groups have visited Gazegill Organics.

Ian said: We have got to reconnect children with food, not just because Jamie Oliver says so, but because we are so disconnected from where meat comes from. Everything is pre-packed.

Years ago in the butchers there would be carcasses hanging up. Children dont see it anymore. We show the children where the food comes from. Its not that long until they are out in the shops as consumers themselves. Its about having a conscience about where food comes from.

Continuing the family farm has meant sacrifice. There is little time for anything other than the work they do at Gazegill. And they love every minute of it.

Emma said: For us, its about the kids and keeping the farm at its best so we can pass it on to our children in a better condition than we got it, just like my parents did for us. Thats all that matters.

We have always believed that nature is never wrong. Farming organically produces healthier food from happier animals within a sound ecological system. We love our animals to bits, they are our extended family.

Veal appeal

Ian and Emma are working to get veal and mutton back on British dinner tables. They produce both meats, including macon, which is a cured mutton, and free range pink veal.

Ian said: People are against veal. But what do you do? Do you shoot it when its born or does a farmer wait for nine weeks and then only get 100 for it at market? I like the third option of nurturing them for nine months, free range, letting them enjoy life feeding on grass and getting the sun on their backs.

We have had some animals that have gone on to beef because they are so good. Veal is a fantastic meat and free range pink veal is just amazing and rare.

Our mutton is fantastic too. Its a three-year-old full of flavour sheep. These traditional cuts, which make the most of a carcass, should be popular but unfortunately until you see it in a pack on a supermarket shelf it wont be. Hopefully we can help to change that.

Emma and Ian sell their meat at farmers markets as well as direct from their farm shop on a Saturday. You can also try it at The Red Pump at Bashall Eaves, near Clitheroe. [Original article here…]