A on the Road: A day in the British countryside to explore Brades Farm
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Barnes Farm AHDB

A day in the countryside: On my way to the Lune valley

A few weeks ago, I embarked to an incredible human adventure in the north side of the country. For the little story, I have been contacted by AHDB,  the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board to have the opportunity to be part of an amazing project called « One Billion ». The aim was to connect people with farmers from around the world and get a chance to understand more about today’s farming and people behind the products that we use everyday.

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From my perspective the project was simply to have the chance to talk to a farmer, anywhere in the world, and learn more about his daily life. Basically a simple facetime conversation which, you’ll probably agree on that, is already great, right? But imagine a second that you could meet the farmer in Africa or South America who produces some of the dairy products that you eat or drink everyday, how cool would that be? And this is what I had at heart by joining this project:  Actually having the chance to meet one of those farmers face to face, see from my own eyes what a day in a farm looks like and what kind of aspirations, hopes and issues farmes are facing everyday…and that’s how I got to meet Eddie!

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One Billion Project

I will always remember the first time I talked to Eddie. As Eddie lives 20 minutes away from Lancaster, in the beautiful Lune valley in the north side of the country, the first time we talked had to go through Facetime. So when Eddie picked up my call and the screen showed where he was, I knew that he will be the best person to introduce me to what is a farmer today. And so, what would you expect to see when calling a farmer in the middle of the day? You got it: cows! Everywhere! Dozens and dozens of cows all around him! That was quite an introduction! So Eddie and I got a chance to talk and it turned out that we had something in common: The love of coffee shops! And I learned that the milk that Eddie’s cows are producing is used in many really cool coffee shops all around the country and even in London, in some of my favorite places! The milk that they do is a combination of different cows’ milk to create the best barista milk possible!

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No need for more: A few minutes later, it was all decided: I was going to visit him the next day!

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Lune Valley Lancaster

Lune Valley Lancaster

I took an early train from London to the farm where Eddie, his brother Jo and their family lived for about five generations already and when I arrived to the station, Eddie’s father was already there, waiting for me. Despite being a generation older than me, Eddie’s father is actually really aware of what our generation of people is looking for and how we like to spend our time, that’s why he decided to develop the barista milk.

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After a short ride, I finally managed to arrive at the farm where Eddie’s house is. Located in the beautiful Lune Valley, the farm is exactly what you will expect of a family business: Only a few people working, everybody knows each other and even Eddie’s grandparents, who are now retired, still live on the site. At Eddie’s house, I also got the chance to meet Rebecca, his girlfriend, who just came back from several years in China. After a nice cup of tea and a few biscuits, it was about time to visit the farm and have a deeper look at what Eddie is doing everyday.

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Lune Valley Lancaster

Lune Valley Lancaster

And this day started pretty much like every other ones: By saying « hi » to the new borns of the day! I had the chance to see babies of only an hour old, which was absolutely amazing! It’s really incredible to see the babies already being so friendly and so curious about us! Actually, Eddie’s  cows were pretty much all like that and I learned it by walking around them a few minutes later.

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So after meeting the babies, we got a chance to see the adult cows which can go freely pretty much everywhere in the farm and have enough room to lay down or walk and sleep where they want. Eddie’s family even built a bridge between the farm and the fields so the cows can choose where they want to go. During winter time though, as the weather is pretty cold, they usually prefer to stay inside. And just like the babies, I wouldn’t have expected the adult cows to be so curious and friendly! They weren’t afraid of me at all and instead of that, they all came around me and were looking for a human contact! I guess it’s one way to say that they were happy and felt confident enough to approach someone they didn’t know.

During the visit, I learned a lot about Eddie’s daily life: From milking the cows to take care of the babies, from the preproduction to postproduction and sales: Days are long and the job is really demanding but it’s what it takes to run an ethical, local and responsible family business. I learned a lot about what it takes to be a farmer today thanks to Eddie and his family and I couldn’t be happier to get a chance to experience it myself a bit for a day. It was an incredible experience and I am already planning a new visit to Eddie’s farm soon and hopefully I’ll get the chance to meet him in London next time he’ll be around!

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About AHDB and the One Billion Project:

Did you know that the UK dairy farms are pf a truly global network with 240m people directly or indirectly employed on 133m dairy farms around the world? The dairy production, worldwide,  positively effects over one billion people.

 

Post sponsored by AHDB

Alex
alex.zouaghi@yahoo.fr

Parisian of heart, recently Londoner and former New-Yorker, Alex, 28, teacher by day and passionate blogger and photographer the rest of the time, has developed a strong interest for travels and adventures since he decided to move to Beijing in 2011. Always ready to go back on the road, Alex is more than decided to hump on new adventures that will lead him all around the world!

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