With acres of pasture land and more hours of sunshine than the rest of the UK, the Isle of Wight is perfect for grazing – and happy, well-fed cows mean great dairy produce. Island farmers not only produce top-quality milk (some of which still has the cream layer intact at the top) but churn out golden butter, silky smooth clotted cream, stunning cheeses and even local ice cream. In these difficult times, it can be hard to know where to get your dairy fix from – but fear not, we’ve put together a handy guide to what you can find and where!
Briddlesford Lodge Farm brings you milk, straight from the farm’s award-winning Guernsey herd, alongside luxurious clotted cream and butter made on-site in the farm kitchen. Milk is available pasteurised as whole, semi-skimmed or skimmed alongside their delicious double cream. They also offer a range of farmhouse cheeses which includes Briddlesford Caerphilly, gouda and cheddar as well halloumi- and feta-style cheeses. Briddlesford products are stocked Island-wide, but if you’re able to visit the farm, the onsite shop stocks a wide range of Island produce, including local meat, fresh fruit and vegetables and even their own range of home-made ready meals! They are offering home delivery Monday to Friday but contact them for details.
When Briddlesford installed their own processing plant for their Guernsey milk, the farm found it had a much larger capacity than needed, and Isle of Wight Dairy Co was born. Milk is collected from Isle of Wight dairy farms across the Island, and processed at Briddlesford. The range of whole, semi-skimmed and skimmed milk and butter is sold locally at Co-op stores and selected local shops. With a maximum of just 20 food miles from farm to store, the products are super fresh and the new production plant ensures a high standard of processing, giving the milk an impressive 12-day shelf life. What’s more, the farmers are paid a sustainable price, which in turn supports the Island economy at this crucial time.
If you can’t get to a local shop, the famous ‘Wight Milk Shed’ is there for you! The George family located to Coppid Hall Farm in the 1930s and have been supplying fresh milk to locals ever since. Originally delivering milk by horse and cart, they now supply the majority of the Island using a fleet of much quicker refrigerated vehicles. In 2013 they opened the ‘Wight Milk Shed’ at the end of their property on the side of the road not only selling milk, cream and butter, but also potatoes, free-range hen and duck eggs, Island made jams, chutneys and marmalades, cakes and bread. The shop operates on an honesty policy and is open early until late seven days a week.
We couldn’t do a round-up of local dairy producers without mentioning Isle of Wight Cheese Company. With a long-standing heritage of dairy farming on the site, cheesemaking began at Queenbower dairy in October 2006 and has gone from strength to strength ever since. As much of the milk as possible is sourced from the 60-strong herd of Guernsey and Jersey cows, but they do top up with milk from Briddlesford Lodge Farm which is just 5 miles away. The dairy produces five kinds of cheese; Blue Slipper, Borthwood Brie, Isle of Wight Blue, Isle of Wight Soft and Gallybagger, an unpasteurised cheddar type cheese. The cheeses are available from Isle of Wight Co-op stores but you’ll find a full list of local stockists on the website – we advise calling ahead to check opening times with individual stores before travelling to avoid disappointment though!
If the recent sunshine has left you craving a sweet treat, the Island also produces some great ice-creams…
The news we’d all be waiting for came last week when Crave in Ventnor announced they were planning on trialling home deliveries for their famous imaginatively flavoured (and named) creamy creations. The 16oz ice cream tubs are £6 each, with a minimum of three tubs per order. The flavour list is published on Tuesday, although all flavours are subject to availability on a first-come-first-served basis. Orders then need to be placed online by 6pm Wednesday, with deliveries taking place in different areas across Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. See their Facebook page for the latest details and be prepared to get in quick as they sell out fast!
They aren’t the only ice cream producers in town though! Medina Food Service have stepped up, with their ‘Medina at Home’ delivery service, offering Minghella, Calbourne Classics and Isle of Wight Ice Cream Company treats. There are over 5,000 products online ranging from fresh butchery items, dairy, fruit and vegetables to tinned products, frozen food, desserts, snacks, confectionery, drinks and even cleaning products. Delivery is free on orders over £50 and within as little as two working days. All you need to do is sign up to shop online and a wealth of diverse flavours such as Minghella rum-soaked raisin, Calbourne Classics Flamingo Pink Coconut or even Isle of Wight Ice Cream Company bubblegum could be winging their way to your door.
‘But what if you don’t do dairy’ I hear you cry? If you’re lactose intolerant, although Green Barn Goats shop at Yarmouth is currently closed, they do have goats milk and goats milk kefir (a fermented milk drink similar to a thin yogurt) available to order for collection. See their Facebook page for more details.
Completely dairy-free or vegan? Craft Vegan Pizza have got your back! See our article to read all about their Vegan Happiness Hampers and range of plant milks and ‘cheezes’ which you can have delivered to your door.
For more details of the village and corner shops which are still keeping the community stocked up with dairy delights throughout the lockdown period see our ‘Where to Shop Right Now’ area guides.