A year ago, we wrote about the dairy that was undergoing an investment of £11.5 million – a £5.7 million grant for matched funding under the Rural Development Programme for England in the South-West – the biggest one they have awarded – and delivered through the RDA over the next three years.

The recipient is Trewithen Dairy, located at Greymare Farm near Lostwithiel in Cornwall and run since the early 1980s by Bill and Rachel Clark and then by their two sons Francis and George, with the help of Paul Worden as sales manager. Now we return to see how things have moved on.

Paul says, “We are well into Phase 1 of the investment programme, with the bottler and the pasteuriser now being installed. When this programme is complete in late 2013 or early 2014, it will increase our capacity by about 80% or about 100,000 litres per day. So far the programme has gone extremely smoothly, it is on time and is still running to budget which, for a programme of this size and complexity is quite something!”

The company is not standing still, however, for while this has been going on, Trewithen has taken over another Cornish dairy – Bradley’s Farm Dairy at Delabole, in North Cornwall. Paul says, Bradleys will continue to produce milk but we have taken over about 300 of their customers, leaving Bradleys to continue delivering to their 3,000 doorstep customers. We will supply all of their milk. We do not do doorstep deliveries, instead delivering to companies that do doorstep deliveries plus we supply wholesalers as well as bottled milk to shops, hotels and restaurants. Another big market for us is ice-cream manufacture – we supply to Kelly’s for example, plus we supply milk to Cornish pastie maker, Ginsters and to Kenzi Foods.”

The growth of Trewithen has been quite astonishing for although the Clarke family took over the farm in the 1980s, it was not until 2002 that growth really started. Since that time, the company has grown to become the biggest bottler of milk in Devon and Cornwall and now supplies Asda stores in Cornwall and Devon and increasingly in Somerset and Dorset.

The Green Bottle
The big new development is the Green Bottle. This exciting development is made from an outer shell of paper with a plastic inner liner – the paper shell is recyclable or compostable while the plastic can be recycled. It contains just 30% of the plastic of a standard plastic milk bottle and has a 50% lower carbon footprint. Trewithen are proud to be trialling this with Asda in their stores not just in Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset but also up as far as Birmingham and Staffordshire. If successful Asda plan to go national with it in 2013 and Trewithen will supply the milk.

As in many other areas, Trewithen continue to buck the trend by bringing four farmers back into dairy farming, bringing the number of farms now supplying Trewithen to 22. Furthermore, two of these suppliers won National Awards – Young Dairy Farmer of The Year and Young Farmer, Holstein Herds. Furthermore – do you remember the one-third-pint bottle of milk at school? Well Trewithen have reintroduced this, not just to schools but also to some hotels who are replacing their UHT in guest rooms with fresh Trewithen milk! Truly a remarkable continuing story!

For further information please telephone 01208 872214 or visit www.cornishfarmdairy.co.uk.