Family-run Gouldings Farm at Blashford going back to dairy roots with Moody Cow shop
DIVERSIFICATION has become the watch word for farmers looking to boost the profit of their traditional activities.
At Gouldings Farm at Blashford, Mike Moody has embraced that principle – but with a local twist by opening a shop dedicated to sourcing fresh local produce from within 30 miles.
Mike and his mum Caroline own a herd of award-winning Guernsey cows at their 47-acre plot which has been in the family since 1953.
The pair have now converted a barn to house the Moody Cow farm shop and have their sights set on a micro dairy with a milk vending machine.
“The farm was originally run as a dairy farm by my nan and granddad and they also opened a shop,” said Mike, who has a background in hospitality.
“We want to go back to that, producing all our own milk, butter, yoghurt and cheese to sell in the shop.
“At the moment, the milk produced by the herd is put back into calf-rearing to produce beef, but we have plans to expand our 16-cow herd so we can be more self-sufficient.”
The shop, which doubles up as a cafe serving hot drinks and breakfasts using only produce from in-store, sells a wide range of food and drink, nearly all from the local area.
Milk is from Meggy Moo’s Dairy at Blandford, cheese from the Book & Bucket at Cranborne, vegetables are grown on a farm in Salisbury, and meat is supplied by Manor Farm near Cadnam.
A range of delicious treats sit on the shelves too, including Fordingbridge Fudge, Say coffee, chilli jam and camembert sourdough by Fresh Kitchen – Cookery School, and award-winning pork pies and sausage rolls from Tatchbury Manor Farm at Winsor.
The shop, which opened at the end of last year, will soon be selling Forest Edge gelato from Fordingbridge too.
“I have hand-picked every person behind all the produce we sell in the farm shop,” said Mike. “I go and see the animals at Wendy’s farm and I recently visited Meggy Moo’s to see what goes on there. I want to offer my customers complete food traceability.
“We also try to avoid plastic packaging where possible – our veg is pick-your-own and we provide customers with paper bags.”
He continued: “The response has been better than I ever could have hoped for. The support from the community has been fantastic and we’ve had really great feedback.
“And I want to be a part of that community and pay back the support we’ve been given. On Christmas Day I prepared hot meals for Ringwood Food Bank to deliver to families that would have otherwise gone without.
“We were selling trees at the farm in December, and we donated one to the stroke ward at Salisbury Hospital and another to Linwood School. We chopped it up so they could use it for a sensory assembly for the children.”
After years spent managing hotels, Mike was keen to focus again on the family farm with a view to diversifying.
“Being here is what makes me the most happy,” he said. “And my background in hotels, working with food in that way, has really stood me in good stead.”
Mike also has plans to launch a wilding project later in the year, devoting half an acre of land to plant a wildflower meadow, which he hopes the community will get involved in by helping to select the seeds that are sown.
The Moody Cow Farm Shop is New Forest Marque-certified. For more information, go to www.moodycowfarmshop.com