The scene of contented bovines happily munching their way across lush fields at Modbury Farm is not a new one – this has been a working dairy farm since 1857 and many of the field names were recorded as early as 1587.
But the 150-acre farm, in the Bride Valley near Burton Bradstock, still has a number of USPs you may not expect.
It is the only place for miles around licensed to sell raw, unpasteurised milk – a foodstuff popular with personal trainers and athletes as well as people who laud it for decreased rates of asthma, allergies, eczema, otitis, fever, and respiratory infections.
And because the milk comes from Tim and Julie Garry’s Jersey herd, it boasts impressive levels of calcium – 20 per cent more than conventional cow’s milk – and protein, too.
Modbury has evolved over the centuries as tastes changed. From a bevy of milkmaids rolling up their sleeves to milk the cows and cheesemakers producing their wares on site in the 19th century, the farm now has a shop full to bursting with locally produced goods, from fruit and veg to felt slippers, greetings cards to ice cream.
“Twenty or thirty years ago this was a big farm,” says Tim. “You’ve got to diversify.”
For a farm shop, it’s busy, with people in and out all the time. In summer it becomes even busier with local campsites generating a bustling trade in local foods.
Outside the shop, the farm is a haven for wildlife. Its eight-acre woodland contains many species of plants and wildflowers. The hedgerows are up to 6ft wide and create corridors which allow movement of wildlife.
The Garrys’ herd are exceptionally pretty and so obviously well cared for. The animals stroll over for a pat as soon as you set foot in their field, curious to make your acquaintance, with 18-year-old Parsley in slow pursuit.
I adore Parsley. Her grey, wrinkly face is not something you often see on a working farm – cows simply don’t usually live that long. But here at Modbury it’s easy to see why Parsley’s in such fine fettle.
The herd get all the benefits of conventional medicines, but they are also treated with homeopathic remedies and essential oils, thanks to the Garrys’ holistic approach to their animals.
They used to be organic, but now they farm with organic principles.
Julie’s family can be traced back in farming to William the Conqueror, and Tim’s back three generations.
However it seems that their agricultural pedigree may stop here – both their children having taken up good careers in other industries.
“All of our relations were farmers,” said Julie.
“But now only one cousin is still farming.”
The couple moved to Modbury from Sussex 35 years ago after deciding they wanted somewhere bigger and seeing Dorset was, in 1987, better value than other areas.
Currently they have a beef herd and a dairy herd, pigs, some chickens and other birds and three dogs.
The number of livestock kept at the farm has been whittled down over the years to just the right amount – the couple know each animal by name and every one has been there since birth.
Breeding is carried out via artificial insemination, with gender selection used on the semen shipped from all over the world.
Their beef, pork and veal is sold in the shop, alongside asparagus from Bothen Hill, preserves, wooden sticks and toys and so much more.
People travel here from as far as Bournemouth to buy their raw milk – many scientific studies have shown raw milk can help people recover after antibiotics as it is stuffed with probiotics and enzymes.
The reason we usually drink pasteurised milk is it goes through a process to kill bacteria, but here the cows’ udders are treated to kill off bacteria and Tim and Julie have a special licence to sell their milk raw, under which they have to have regular inspections.
When you see their herd of fine ladies chomping away at the bright green fields you are aware of how much hard work it must take Tim and Julie, without a team of milkmaids at their service, to keep everything this bucolic, yet still conform to all the regulations.
n Pay them a visit at Modbury Farm Shop, Monday to Saturday, 7am-7pm at DT6 4NE.
Call 01308 897193 or email firstname.lastname@example.org