Stamfrey Farm Organics – Clotted Cream Production
The clotted cream is made at Stamfrey Farm, from the fresh milk produced by our organic dairy herd. All the animals have been bred on our own farm – which became fully organic in June 2001. We run the farm without the use of pesticides, artificial fertilisers and without the routine use of antibiotics. This process is certified by annual inspections from Organic Farmers and Growers.
The cows on the farm have been Friesians until recently, when they have been crossed with Jersey bulls to increase the butterfat yield, enabling us to produce more clotted cream. We keep approximately 100 milking cows in the herd, with 100 young heifers being reared to replace the older cows as and when they have finished producing milk.
The ‘cycle’ of the dairy cow is one year between calvings. Our cows calve in two batches, either in spring, starting in late February, or in the autumn starting mid to late September. The cows are then served by artificial insemination 45 – 90 days after calving. The cow milks for 305 days from calving, it is then dried off and has eight weeks rest and recuperation before calving again. This cycle continues for up to twelve years.
During the drier months (April to November)
the cows are grazed on a rotational paddock system to allow the grass and clover to recover for about a month between grazing.
During the winter months, the cows are fed a mixture of home grown forages. This year they include clover and grass silage, whole crop oats, wheat and beans. These are all grown in separate fields.
Whole crop means cutting the arable crop when the grain is cheesy soft, but taking the whole plant – straw as well as grain. A natural biological additive is used to help preserve the crop, turning it into stable silage that can be fed over the winter months.
Some of the arable crops we allow to grow on for a few weeks longer, taking the grain to 60% dry matter. At this stage the grain can only just be split with the thumbnail.
It is combine harvested in the conventional way but it is then crimped and a different natural biological additive added to the broken grain to preserve it for the winter. By taking the crops at different stages we provide varied levels of starch, protein, fibre and energy making a good mixed healthy diet for our cows.
The cows are milked twice daily, and the milk is transported whilst still warm, in a stainless steel tank, to the creamery on the farm. At this point it is separated into skimmed milk and cream.
The cream is then collected in jugs, poured and weighed into the pots. These pots are then carefully placed into a bain-marie and cooked over hot water. A data-logging probe is placed in sample pots to ensure that the product is pasteurised. This is recorded on the computer for every batch.
When the cream is cooked, with the crust having formed on the surface, the pots are then placed onto cold slate to cool. Within half an hour they are in the fridge. Twelve hours after, the pots are lidded, labelled and remain refrigerated until collected in a chilled vehicle.