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Saturday, 3 March 2012

My daily pinta

It's so easy to assume something isn't it?

When I started this food challenge, I thought I knew where the milk which is delivered direct to my door each morning comes from.

It turns out I was wrong.

If you live in Leicestershire and Rutland you'll recognise the cheery electric little milk floats of Kirby and West Dairy.There's eighty of them, and they were specially designed by the current managing director's grandfather. The dairy has been in Leicester since Victorian times -the 1860's, and each day thousands of glass milk bottles are delivered to households in towns and villages around here.

I love the fact that my milk is delivered , come rain come shine,  in glass bottles. They're recyclable  - as soon as they're empty I wash them and put them out at  night by the door to be collected.
Some of them haven't made it to the door though....I used lots of them in the summer to use as vases holding masses of queen anne's lace  one year on a huge trestle table for an outdoor lunch.

So it was a shock when I found out the other week that the milk which is delivered doesn't come from Leicestershire any more.It comes from a large dairy farm in Southampton on the south coast of England. I was so sure that it was Leicestershire milk.

And so it was until about five years ago explained Graham Smith the Managing Director of Kirby and West, who invited me down to the dairy.

Up until then there was a huge bottling plant on site, but it all came down to economics. The bottling plant had to go.....but there was nowhere else locally with a bottling plant big enough to satisfy the demands of the Kirby and West dairy.
Now if Graham had chosen to deliver most of his milk in plastic cartons, milk from Leicestershire could be on offer. But it's a fact that , like me, most of his customers prefer their daily pinta in glass milk bottles.

You can listen to the chat I had with Graham as he whizzed me around the plant on one of the milk floats here....

So, for the time of this challenge, I will be buying my milk elsewhere, from the excellent Lubcloud Diary in the north of Leicestershire, which also produces the thickest, creamiest cream .
ever. But the milk comes in - yes you've guessed - plastic cartons.

I'm already missing hearing the clink of the glass bottles being delivered on the doorstep each morning.................

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