Guy Warner: Why you should buy your milk locally
PUBLISHED: 11:16 15 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:16 15 October 2019
'With so much choice available, the only way to really know what's in your milk these days is to keep it local'
Those of us of a certain age will have grown up believing that there are times when "Only milk will do!" We're the ones who keep asking our kids "Are you getting enough?" And we're the ones who are still supporting Accrington Stanley!
If you remember the Milk Marketing Board ads of the 1980s, chances are you'll still be a fan of the white stuff today. But it's not just a generational thing - ask anyone at any time of day what they've got in their fridge, and the number one item will be milk. In fact, 98% of households buy milk regularly, meaning we get through 14 billion litres of milk every year in the UK.
However, just as with other goods we buy, it's fair to say that not all milk is equal. In the good old days, coffee came in two forms - black or white. Go into a high street coffee shop today and there are so many types of milk on offer for your coffee you're never quite sure what you're going to get! As well as plant-based soya, coconut and almond milk there's filtered, organic, free range, A2 and non-homogenised milk. There are even farms offering raw milk, straight from cow to glass.
I'm not sure when it all got so confusing, but one thing I think we can all agree on is that with milk, fresh is best. And here in the Cotswolds, you can't get much fresher than the milk produced by Jess Vaughan's celebrated 'ladies'. Jess's Ladies Organic Farm Milk, being both organic and non-homogenised, is a familiar sight at farmers' markets and farm shops throughout the area. The extra rich and creamy Special Breakfast milk is a particular local favourite, but the cream and natural yoghurt are well worth seeking out too. This is the sort of milk that tastes like milk used to taste - full-on milk-moustache, lip-smackingly good; a wholesome yet indulgent treat.
For those of us who still remember the milkman depositing bottles of gold top on our doorsteps, there's Cotteswold Dairies, based in Tewkesbury. Today, it may not be the original founder, Harry Workman, walking his cow from door to door, but there are many households in the Cotswolds who still rely on the Workman family's doorstep service. The milk is just as fresh - Cotteswold Dairies only work with dairy farmers within a 30-mile radius - and there's a lot more choice: as well as the usual skimmed, semi-skimmed and whole, there's free range, organic and Channel Islands milk available too.
We may never know the whole - or even the skimmed - truth about milk and whether it's as good for us as the Milk Marketing Board suggested all those years ago. We may never know whether organic milk is healthier than standard whole milk or whether non-homogenised milk is any better for us than mass-produced semi-skimmed. Perhaps it's just one of those things, along with which football team you support, that comes down to personal choice - some people are happy to stick with Accrington Stanley while others go straight to the Premier League!
Jess's Ladies Organic Farm Milk: try the Special Breakfast milk - 'milk like it used to taste' - rich, creamy and decadent! Available at Stroud Farmers' Market and Warner's Budgens stores - find more stockists at theladiesorganicmilk.co.uk.
Cotteswold Dairies: try the award-winning, non-homogenised Free Range Whole milk, famed for its flavour and frothability! Available at Warner's Budgens stores and local retail outlets. Set up your doorstep delivery online at cotteswold-dairy.co.uk.
Locally-owned company Warner's Budgens have six stores in the area - Bidford-on-Avon, Broadway, Moreton-in-Marsh, Quedgeley, Tewkesbury and Winchcombe. More information at warnersbudgens.co.uk.