A prize-winning organic dairy is in line to increase its customer base after taking delivery of two new milk vans.
Acorn Dairy of Darlington, which produces, bottles and sells organic milk from its own cows, already had seven vehicles doing the rounds of 4,000 customers but can now sell more with the purchase of the new vehicles from local Vauxhall dealer Sherwoods.
Two bespoke Movanos have been converted, each featuring built-in chiller units to keep up to 1,400 pints of milk at the perfect temperature of between two and four degrees.
Acorn Dairy is run by brother and sister Graham Tweddle and Caroline Bell from Garthorne Farm in Archdeacon Newton, Darlington – farmed by four generations of the Tweddle family since 1928 – and Spennithorne near Leyburn.
They supply direct to doorstep, council contracts, retailers, wholesalers and supermarkets, including Waitrose and Morrisons, and produce their own cream, butter and cheese.
Graham said of the new vans: “This represents a significant investment for us.” Sherwoods general manager Simon MacConachie added: “Our staff and customers have been drinking Acorn’s milk in their tea for years so it’s great to play a part in its continued delivery door-to-door around the region.”
Acorn Dairy is a past winner of Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s Tye Trophy for the Tyne Tees region. They picked up their prize at last year’s Great Yorkshire Show, which begins again in Harrogate, today.
The accolade recognised the efforts of the Tweddle family in operating a successful business while conserving the environment and boosting animal welfare.
Caroline said: “Organic farming is in our blood and something we all feel passionate about.
“Running a business should not be at the expense of animals or the environment and I think the success of Acorn, with the support of all our loyal customers, proves that ethical practices also make commercial sense.”
The trophy was just one of several prestigious awards for the farm which became organic more than a decade ago.
It is also the holder of an organic ‘Oscar’ from the Soil Association and the Good Dairy Award by Compassion in World Farming, the international welfare campaign group.
Acorn Dairy boasts a happy healthy herd with great emphasis placed on care, disease prevention and low stress levels.
Acorn Dairy was an early adopter of green technology used to heat its premises and return a profit to the business.
Energy from wind turbines is enabling them to reduce their reliance on oil, gas and electricity as well as selling surplus power back to the National Grid.
A 500 kilowatt (kw) wind turbine building has been installed and is generating enough on-farm wind energy to fulfil all the power requirements of the dairy, This has reduced the business’s reliance on diesel to generate electricity, heat and steam.
Graham said of the turbines: “The introduction of the wind turbine makes good business sense.
“The business uses the electricity generated by the turbine, so reducing imported electric, and any spare electricity is exported to the National Grid, which attracts an export payment.
“Our customers like the fact that their milk is processed and bottled using green energy.”