This month is Sustainable Restaurant Association’s #coffeemadegood campaign which encourages coffee roasters, baristas and consumers to think about where the coffee has come from? They are also encouraging people to think about the milk too.
A 6oz cappuccino will consist of 1oz of espresso and 5 oz of milk plus some froth. Milk plays an important part in the coffee story, whether it’s High St or Artisan coffee house. But as a result of the ongoing pressure to produce more for less on farms, we’re seeing a rise in intensive dairy farms that are far removed from the public perception of cows grazing lazily in fields. Furthermore, the consolidation of milk processing into the hands of one or two big players is stripping milk of its provenance and taste, denying consumers the chance to enjoy great tasting milk and support smaller farms.
The Pasture Promise logo stands for winning a fair deal for farmers and cows. This means providing a clear assurance that cows enjoy the freedom to graze in fields for at least 180 days and nights of the year, support small, family farms and offer consumers a more informed choice. The Free Range Dairy Network works in collaboration with farmers and independent dairy businesses around the country to create a badly needed opportunity to add value to milk at the farm gate.
Whereas coffee has seen its value surge, often called black gold, milk has seen its value plummet. Not because milk has suddenly become less expensive to produce but because our family farms are expected to shoulder the cost. This is one of the main reasons over 4,000 dairy farmers have gone out of business in the last 10 years. Unless we want milk production from larger dairy farms to streamline costs and logistics then the coffee industry in the UK needs to be prepared to pay a fair price for their milk.
Free Range milk under the Pasture Promise is already building a following in coffee circles, with endorsement from coffee roasters like J Atkinsons & Co as well as being the official milk of the Manchester Coffee Festival for two years running. We see this as a great partnership bringing together the best beans and the best milk that supports farmers, communities and the environment both here and in developing countries.
The coffee movement has gone through the first wave that saw the large coffee businesses take over the high streets, followed by artisan coffee roasters and shops that want the best beans and proud to tell the story about the coffee farmers and communities. We ask that the same due diligence is applied when sourcing milk in the UK. As part of third wave I believe coffee roasters, baristas and coffee shops should all be asking where does my milk come from, does it add and enhance the flavour of the coffee and am I supporting ethical, sustainable milk production in the UK?
Anyone that’s seen our cow turn out film can see how happy the cows are to be outside on pasture, and pasture and happy cows makes the best Free Range milk.
Free Range Dairy Network is holding its first conference on March 7th 2017 in Stafford.