The Estate Dairy (Evening Standard)

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Food, Writing

Follow this collective if only to develop a special affection for Jersey Cows, says Victoria Stewart

Who: a collective including latte champions, milk trainers, coffee roasters, Brades Farm in Lancashire, and a leading dairy scientist Morten Münchow, all headed up by Rebecca and Shaun Young. Rebecca, the daughter of a former dairy farmer, used to work in property, while Shaun owns Noble Espresso coffee business, and previously worked at Kaffeine and Taylor St Baristas.

Number of followers: 1.4k

Featured food: Velvety chocolate cakes, cheese and luscious-looking ice cream cookies made by people such as Crumbs and Doillies, Blu Top Ice Cream and Wildes Cheese who buy the milk; photogenic Jersey cows; coffee and latte art; London coffee shops; milk cartons.

Why we should follow it: Because you want to develop a special affection for Jersey cows; because it is a stunning collection of lifestyle photographs; and because it’s a beautiful reminder of where the milk for your coffe comes from. “From a content and brand point of view, dairy is just so set in its ways, yet people absolutely love to engage with a farm and a producer,” explains Young.

Takes pics with: Their friends Jonny Simpson (and occasionally Tom Byfield) take the majority of photos using a Cannon 5D MK 111.

First post: Two people walking across a field in Lancashire, captioned: ‘after a great weekend in Cheshire, we move ever closer to launching The Estate Dairy… watch this space.”

Most popular post: “The cow shots definitely score high in terms of likes,” says Young.”People love that, especially Jersey Cows which are so beautiful especially when they’re young.”

Claims to fame: Edd Kimber aka the Boy Who Bakes and winner of The Great British Bake Off 2010, is a follower.

How the Estate Dairy came about: “Rebecca’s dad jokingly said one day that we should let him supply milk to our coffee business. And then we looked into it further and decided that we really wanted to have a better quality milk for coffee.” After meeting and working with the Copenhagen dairy scientist Morten Münchow, the pair realised that they needed to identify a farm with Jersey cows to work with (Rebecca’s father only had Holstein cattle, whose milk is not high enough in solids, proteins or butter fat). He and Rebecca spent a year visiting 45 farms offering them a higher price per litre of milk.

It was “an amazing but quite a stressful experience” as they quickly realised that they were “quite naive” to the risks that a farmer would have to take to work with them, such as having to drop their badly-paid though regular existing orders, and underestimated how “old school dairy farmers are in their way of thinking.” They eventually established a relationship with two young brothers at Brades Farm in Lancashire, who invested in a Jersey herd, before approaching coffee roasters and cafes with their milk. “We started in mid-January 2016 with seven accounts in the first week and we now work with 107, including Wildes Cheese in Tottenham… we are slightly overwhelmed by the interest.

The farmer is over the moon about what we’ve achieved and since we started they’ve actually brought in more Jerseys onto the farm, to cope with the demand.”

Look out for: We have been talking to Grant Harrington, the Oxfordshire butter producer behind Ampersand Butter Culture about having him process butter for us using the big surplas of cream from what we produce. We’re really excited.

Follow it on Instagram @TheEstateDairy; theestatedairy.com

Article appeared in Evening Standard, August 2016