SCORES of visitors were treated to a farm tour as they discovered the organic journey their milk takes from the cow to the doorstep.
Acorn Dairy opened its doors to the public for a three-day event designed to thank doorstep customers for their support and reinforce the benefits of going organic.
Visitors to the farm at Archdeacon Newton, near Darlington, gained a first glimpse of the dairy’s new luxurious cowshed, which features automatic hairbrushes, foot-spa and memory foam mattresses.
Up to 200 dairy shorthorn crosses will be housed in the new facility providing an additional 1.3 million litres of milk a year for doorstep and commercial customers across the region, from Tyne and Wear to Yorkshire.
More than 3,000 doorstep customers are supplied, as well as Co-operative Stores across Yorkshire, Morrisons and Waitrose regionally, the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, the region’s schools and a host of farm shops and caterers, by the multi-award winning dairy.
Eighteen years after becoming organic, the latest expansion will see a herd almost 500-strong be reared at the main farm in Archdeacon Newton.
An additional 400 acres has been secured next door for grazing and silage, which, over the next two years, is being converted to organic, free from chemical feeds and pesticides. An RSPB nest box programme, that is already flourishing at Acorn Dairy, will be extended to the new land.
Research has proved that dairy cows live longer and produce more milk when their needs are fully met.
When they are not grazing outdoors, they will be in the new shed where the temperature will be kept to the optimum 12 degrees, the LED lighting will be maintained at a daylight equivalent of 200 lux for 16 hours a day, and where stock can feed, drink and lie down in comfort in perfectly proportioned stalls.
Visitors were also treated to a tractor ride around the farm to see where the cows graze and the farm’s wildlife wetlands.
Acorn director Caroline Bell said: “Not many people can say they have seen the actual cows who produce the milk that ends up on their doorsteps but our customers can.
“We remain passionate about the benefits of being organic, to animal welfare and to the quality of the produce. We love sharing this passion with our loyal customers and we were thrilled so many took up our invitation to have a look round the farm.”