Producing the Goods

West Hill Farm Milk

"Milk should be judged in the same way as fine wine. A connoisseur should be able to detect subtle variations according to evening or morning milking and the type of pasture the cows have been grazing. We ought to be able to appreciate the hint of dandelion or clover in a summer evening milking from a cow grazing in the meadow on the south side of the hill," says Susi Batstone of West Hill Farm near Ilfracombe.

The 100 ha farm is situated on light sandy, free-draining soils, good for growing grass and fodder crops, and allowing the cattle to graze in the fields most of the year.

Susi and Chris Batstone decided to process and sell their own organic pasteurised milk in 2002 as the price of milk fell to rock bottom. In addition they make four kinds of cream, butter and yoghurt. They provide milk to local shops and to Ifracombe Junior School, and are working with Green & Black to provide milk for a chocolate sauce and drink. Their herd includes pedigree British Holsteins crossed with Guernsey and Scandinavian Ayrshires. Ice creams and soft cheeses are on the horizon.

Contact: Susi and Chris Batstone,
West Hill Farm, West Down, nr Ilfracombe, Devon.
Source: Linda Findlay "Milky Way" Exmoor Magazine Summer, 2005