The perfect ingredient: Dales Dairies’ milk

James and Ralph Wellock head for Wharfedale to discover what makes the milk from Archers Farm and Dales Dairies so special.

Anthony Bolland’s family farm – Archers – is on the Duke of Devonshire’s estate in North Yorkshire and produces milk for Dales Dairies.

The farm was passed down to Anthony by his dad and it now has around 150 cows. The cows are Holstein-Friesians which, Anthony explains, is a great combination of breeds. “The cows like it around here and they are hardy. They are outside for about five to six months through the summer, eating grass and go inside in winter. Then they’re on a silage diet, which is a form of preserved grass. So basically they eat the same sort of grass all year round.”

After increasing the size of the herd since inheriting the farm, Anthony has adopted modern techniques for caring for the cows which are milked in a state-of-the-art parlour.

Archers’ cows are equipped with their own pedometers so the farmer can monitor their health and maximise milk production. Anthony explains, “They can tell us if a cow is poorly as it’ll have done less steps – and we’ll know the correct amount of feed to give it in the parlour to help with milk production.”

Once the cows have been milked, the raw milk is transported just down the road to Dales Dairies in Grassington to be processed and packaged. Anthony says, “We’ve worked with Dales Dairies for almost five years. They look after us. They want good milk and that’s what we  provide them with. It works very well.”

At the dairy, owner David Oversby shows James and Ralph the ropes. He explains,  “There are 21 farms in the local area so we get milk very quickly and the short turnaround keeps it fresh. To process it, we gently heat the milk to 72 degrees and then immediately cool it to less than four degrees – this keeps the natural flavour.”

Dales Dairies produces 22 million litres of milk each year which is largely sold in Yorkshire and is also bought and distributed around the country by Wellocks to its customers. One of these is the Burlington Restaurant at the Devonshire Arms in Bolton Abbey.

For head chef Adam Smith, great products like the Dales Dairies milk are shown off best in simple recipes – such as a panna cotta.

Adam explains,“There is no sugar in the recipe so you get the real benefits of using rich fresh milk.”  Adam adds honey and vanilla for flavour and a little extra sweetness to the panna cotta mixture and tops the set dish with blackberry jelly and a poached blackberry.

Adam also used the fresh milk and cream to make an almond ice cream garnished with white chocolate cream – again simply using the cream and chocolate melted together to make a deliciously thick sauce.

Did you know?

  • British dairy farmers produce around 11 billion litres  of milk each year.
  • On average, cows produce 128 glasses of milk a day.
  • Skimmed milk, 1%, 2% or whole milk all have the same  calcium and nutrient content.
  • About 90% of British dairy cows are Holstein-Fresians.
  • Milk can reduce the level of acidity in the mouth, combating plaque formation and reducing the risk of cavities.