Dairy Innovators of the Year, British Farming Awards
Joe and Ed Towers
Lune Valley Dairy, Brades Farm, Lancashire
Faced with the repercussions of supermarket wars and spot prices crashing, a local dairy farming family were forced to rethink their market supply, which they did by working with hipster baristas in London. Working with a Copenhagen-based scientist/coffee consultant, Joe and Ed Towers has developed the UK’s first barista milk, specially designed for pouring into coffee. Research revealed there was a demand for a high protein milk to produce the perfect ‘microfoam’ for coffee. Overhauling the farm’s whole dairy breed and system, Jersey heifers were purchased from Denmark in November 2015 and steadily grown to meet demand.
The specification for the London milk is 3.6 per cent protein, for which the farm’s black and white cows produce 3.3 per cent and the Jerseys 3.9 per cent. In order to consistently achieve the required 3.6 per cent, a button in the parlour diverts the milk into the Jersey tank when they go through the parlour. Milk samples are then sent to National Milk Laboratories and when the milk tanker comes, Joe instructs how much black and white milk and how much Jersey milk to pick up so the blend is 3.6 per cent. Ed has redeveloped the farm’s infrastructure to meet consumer demands for milk consistency and animal welfare. Today 450 cows are managed, 110 of which are Jersey. A third of the milk goes into London coffee shops, as well as high end restaurants and hotels under the brand Brades Farm Barista Milk – although this will be rising to half our production in the coming weeks. Looking forward, new locations will be explored outside of London to supply different areas of the country. Joe and Ed are keen to enhance the farm’s reputation for traceability, high welfare and innovation, which will hopefully lead to increased sales and brand awareness.
On winning the award, Joe and Ed said: It’s about being recognised for the hard work we put in. This award means so much for our team back home. Dairy farming is probably one of the hardest jobs in the world and we try our best to look after our animals and provide what our customers want. It’s a battle every day so to be appreciated and truly welcomed here tonight means everything.
The judges said about Joe and Ed: Judges said Joe and Edward were quick to seize the opportunities that presented themselves in the Barista coffee market and are clearly focused on driving their existing and new markets forward.
Read more here