Nestled within a wide meander of the river Waveney, is a beautiful market town named Bungay, whose connection to farming goes back centuries. The importance of this communities past farming efforts is plain to see wherever you turn, with landmarks such as 'Butter Cross' standing proud and giving visitors an insight into how this place came to be. 

The landscape around Bungay is verdant green and lush with stunning willow-shaded water meadows, rich in wildlife, that are overlooked by the ruins of ancient Bungay Castle.

This is the home of Fen Farm Dairy's herd of Montbeliarde cows. For most of the year round, you can see them grazing freely on the marshes of Stow Fen, in the beautiful Waveney River Valley. They keep peaceful company with otters, kingfishers, egrets, herons, marsh harriers, water voles and a myriad of other water-meadow creatures.

You could be forgiven for thinking time has slowed in this pretty valley. As you gaze around the panoramic views looking down to unspoilt farmland that is being managed in a similar way to generations before. Current custodians, Johnny and Dulcie Crickmore do very much keep one eye on the past, applying the knowledge and traditional values they have gathered as third generation farmers, however there is innovation and a desire to do things differently, better, at the beating heart of this special farm. It is a perfect blend of sage wisdom and contemporary thinking that makes this place so special. 

"We believe we have a responsibility to be excellent stewards of our planet, the land we farm and the delicate ecosystems that live here. We are on a mission to become carbon negative and we are working continuously towards this goal."

That mission has propelled the couple to convert all of the farms barns to solar, which provides the farm and the dairy to around 70% renewable energy self sufficiency. Any spare energy produced on very sunny days is fed back into the National Grid, meaning the farm is contributing electricity for others.

They haven't just stopped there. Just like us, at Pipers Farm, Johnny and Dulcie are fans of cowpats! They have seen the virtues and the incredible resource that poo provides.

As the billions of bugs and bacteria get to work to digest a cowpat a huge amount of heat is created. This clever couple have installed two miles of water pipes beneath the cows winter barns that captures the heat from the muck on the floor and warms the cold water to around 40˚C as it passes through the pipes.

The pipes travel through the farmyard to the milking parlour and cheese dairy, collecting the waste heat from the farms refrigeration units, as well as the natural heat extracted from the fresh warm cows milk as it goes through the rapid cooling system. 

Once the water has reached its final destination, the temperature is topped up to 90˚C, using energy generated by the solar panels, ready to be used for cleaning down the parlour and dairy. 

It's not just in the dairy the team are innovating and improving. On the farm the team are committed to learning more about soil health, adapting their practices to carefully manage this vital resource. They are converting what was once burdened arable land to a regenerative space where it is being 'activity' left alone to encourage nature to thrive. On the farm there are currently about 60 acres that are 'wilded', a mixture of naturally developed meadowland and a young native oak forest.

It is our belief that this care and attention for the land, community, history and the future that is so cleverly managed, is clearly demonstrated in the unquestioned quality of the products that comes from this special place. 

Fen Farm Dairy produce one of the finest cheeses in country, in actual fact, in the world. Baron Bigod is a Brie-de-Meaux style cheese and is the only raw milk version made in the UK. It is made by hand in small batches, very early in the morning so that the raw milk, still warm, can be used straight from the cow, at the perfect temperature for cheesemaking. Its flavours, aromas and characteristics change with the seasons. It is a unique expression of the terroir. 

Not happy with just one standout product, the team also make an incredible raw milk, cultured butter named 'Bungay Butter' after the place they call home. Alongside cheese and butter you'll find other byproducts that ensure not one drop of milk produced is wasted; a Mascarpone that is thick and luscious like clotted cream, a cultured Buttermilk full of flavours of the farm with an unmistakable delicious tang, and a Skyr that feels as much Nordic as it does British, a testament to the dairy team who travelled to Iceland to learn the ancient art of Icelandic yoghurt making. 

It is wonderful people such as Johnny and Dulcie who up and down the country are breathing new life into farming. Their commitment to honouring the past isn't standing in the way of building a better future. They are true custodians of the land, true artisan heroes and are leaving their positive mark on a historic landscape. 

Explore our full range of produce from Fen Farm Dairy.

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