It's that time of the week again and our second Friday Farmer is Jack Martin of Tom Parker Creamery. We asked Jack to give us a little back ground information about his farm and the story behind the brilliant branding.
Here is what he had to say;
In 1921 my Great Grandfather, Tom Parker, started farming with 14 cows on rented land. He began by delivering milk from his horse and cart, as word spread of the quality of the milk, his fleet of beautifully painted horse drawn milk floats became a regular sight in Hampshire and ‘The Guv’nor’, as he was known, became something of a farming legend.
He never let success change him though, describing himself, even to royalty, as
‘the local milkman.’
Tom Parker Creamery is somewhat of a family legacy, named after your Great Grandfather, tell us why you decided to continue on with his work? Was this a natural route of succession for you or was there something else that fuelled the fire?
For the last 10 years i've been living in NZ with my wife and three children, where I have a regional lifestyle magazine called WildTomato. But having been raised on tales of my great grandfather Tom Parker's entrepreneurial farming exploits, I always wanted to move my family back to the farm. Unfortunately due to low milk prices dairy farmers need to diversify, so the logical thing was to add value to our milk, and no one was doing premium milkshakes.
Following in his footsteps you say you are determined never to compromise on quality or taste, by only ever using pure fresh milk, free of permeate unlike some of the big-guns. Could you explain your reasoning behind this and why your products, free from this
by-product will taste far better than some you can buy in supermarkets?
Permeate is a by-product of the milk processing industry, whereby milk is split into separate tanks comprising water, protein, butterfat and everything else (called permeate) in the factory and then put back together in such a way as to reduce costs by watering down your milk.
So it’s no surprise that milk tastes fresher, creamier and more delicious when it’s left to the cows.
Happy cows make the best milk, what lengths do you go too to ensure your girls are always happy and in tip top condition?
It’s all about the team knowing each cow individually, we also put down astro-turf carpets for them to walk on!
You keep your cows out for 9 months of the year, which is 50% longer than current
free-range legislations state, why is this?
Nature intended cows to be free range and grass fed, so we keep them outside for as long as the grass grows, then they come inside to be fed in winter when there is no grass outside.
What parlour do you milk on? Size, type?
It’s a 40 stall Rotaflow which is circular and floats on water, it’s very clever unless you get a leak, which has only happened once, but it was on Christmas eve.
Your website states that your approach may mean that the cows produce less milk for you to sell, why is this?
Because if you keep cows inside all year and feed them only on high energy concentrate rather than grass, they produce more milk.
You say the girls are part of the family, how many do you have? I totally with you when you say, each cow has it's own individual and unique personality. When I was working and living out in NZ on the dairy farm, the cows would often line up in the same order (or near enough) each morning and afternoon, just like yours.
We currently have 525.
What is the most common problem your herd faces?
Irregular rainfall is a real pain, because it causes irregular grass growth.
I have been watching your recent social media campaign with the co-operative to offer taster days for customers to trial local produce. Tell us about this scheme? Is it something you would recommend to others?
We find that once people taste our products they are love them and keep buying them, so doing tastings are our number one marketing tool.
You have a really extensive, eye catching website. Many media advisors and diversification experts often stress the importance of an effective, working website and the benefits it can have on rural and agricultural businesses who perhaps feel - they don't need one. Why was creating such a great website and digital presence important to you?
From a marketing perspective, it’s no good just doing the right thing if no one knows what you’re doing, so our website is a great opportunity to show people how we do things on the farm.
What does the future hold for Tom Parker Creamery?
In the short term we intend to do other dairy products, time and budget permitting. In the long term we want to be dairy farming here in the beautiful Meon Valley forever.
You mention that four generations currently live on the family farm in the Meon Valley keeping watch over your farmland and ensuring that your grand father's legacy and hard work is preserved. Which generation are you if you don't mind me asking?
I’m the 3rd generation. My Grandparents, parents, myself and my wife and our children all live on the farm.
Thank you to Jack and the team at Tom Parker Creamery. We hope you have enjoyed this week's Farming Friday. If you would like to be considered for future Farming Friday's - pop us an email or send us a message on social and we will add you to our growing list of Friday Farmers.
For more information on Jack's farm, visit: www.tomparkercreamery.com
OR follow their growing Instagram account: tomparkercreamery
Until next time...
Lots of love,