Sold in Selfridges and served to HRH Prince Harry on the morning of his wedding, Baron Bigod Cheese may be being sampled far and wide, but it's made right here on The Suffolk Coast at Fen Farm Dairy.
Situated in the Waveney Valley just outside Bungay, the dairy farm is run by Jonny and Dulcie Crickmore. With over 300 cows, the dairy launched it's own Suffolk brie, Baron Bigod, along with a range of delicious raw dairy products just five years ago and since then it has gone from strength to strength.
When you're next on The Suffolk Coast, be sure to stop by the dairy and fill up a bottle of the delicious raw milk from the vending machine, grab some raw cream for your apple crumble, pick up some raw cultured butter for your morning toast and get your hands on a round of Baron Bigod Cheese (but be sure to phone ahead so it can be prepared for you).
To find out how this award-winning cheese is made and the inspiration behind it, we spoke to owners Jonny and Dulcie Crickmore...
1. Talk us through a typical day at Fen Farm Dairy
There are a huge number of elements that go into the running of a dairy farm, especially as we have live animals and food production onsite as well.
On a typical day, our team will be dealing with feeding animals, milking, mucking out, animal healthcare, crop care (we try to grow most of the feed ourselves) looking after the land, hedgerows and wildlife, pasture management and fencing, clamp and building maintenance, admin work, cheese and butter production, sales and customer service, not to mention marketing and social media.
During harvest, the work hours tend to double, to get the crops in and safely stored. On harvest nights we often start work at 4am and finish at 10pm or 11pm. In the winter, there will be extra mucking out and feeding duties as the cows are cosied up indoors. We also like to get out and visit our retail and wholesale customers around the UK as often as possible, so we or our team members will usually be travelling somewhere at least once a week.
2. How was Fen Farm Dairy established?
Jonny is the 3rd generation of our family to be farming the land here at Fen Farm, however, the cheese and butter making started 5 years ago, born out of a desire to take control of our own business, rather than be at the mercy of the commodity milk market. Making and selling our own products, and becoming part of the amazing Suffolk food scene, has been such a wonderful experience that we would never look back.
3. Tell us one fun fact about yourself
I (Jonny) once walked across the UK, from coast to coast. Last week my kids decided to write a list of life goals, one of which was to complete that same walk as a family in 8 years time (the year they have judged themselves to be "big enough").
4. Where is your favourite place on The Suffolk Coast?
Dunwich Forest. Any season, any weather. I think it's one of the most beautiful places to be.
5. What is your favourite Suffolk produce?
Don't ask me to choose! The best day of my entire year is the day after the Aldeburgh Food Festival when we get to eat all the amazing local produce that we've bought home. The festival itself is pretty great too!
6. What should people try when they come to Fen Farm Dairy?
Our raw milk coffee at the farm gate! This is one of several collaborations we've done with Firestation Cafe, Bar and Coffee Roasters in Woodbridge. Their beans are delicious and go really well with the creaminess of our raw milk.
For more information about Fen Farm Dairy, visit https://fenfarmdairy.co.uk/