Sark community dairy spring update

It is spring and what is happening at Sark’s community dairy? The Sark Newspaper hasn’t delivered an update on the dairy since last winter when the size of the Sark herd was a diminutive 16, and, of the 16, only 10 cows were being milked. In November 2021, The Sark Newspaper reported that, other than the milking herd, there were six youngsters called ‘followers’; these youngsters were too young to be milked and, six months on, they remain too young to be milked. 
It is likely that these young heifers will only join the main herd in 2024; “following on” is a slow process and young cows are juvenile for at least three years before they become adults. Six months on and there are now even more youngsters; six more cows: Rush, Star, Sapphire, Lizzette, Supreme and Emma have recently calved with a seventh, Whispa, due shortly.
In November 2021, when there were only 10 milkers, there wasn’t enough surplus milk for the dairy to expand its range, but, with 22 adult cows currently grazing and 15 milkers, there is now enough milk to offer a semi-skimmed ‘blue top’, and also a Sark double cream. Both new products are available from outlets across the Island and have gone down a storm with the vending machine, sited in the actual dairy and selling the freshest milk, proving to be very popular. The herd currently comprises of 22 adult cows with three more due to arrive on Island over the next few weeks. The adult herd will then be 25 strong and this will make it complete. Jason and Katharine have been planning properly and working hard, increasing the size of the Sark herd so that there will be enough surplus to create new and delicious produce.

The Salisbury’s still run the original farm in Suffolk, a farm renowned for its artisan cheeses and producing a brie-style cheese, a semi-hard cheese and a more mature blue. Last November Jason described the Suffolk Gold as “rich, creamy and ideally eaten on oatcakes or with an apple.”
For The Sark Newspaper’s springtime update, Jason has kindly written a few words:‘At last, the dark mornings are a distant memory and the signs of spring have arrived!
Katharine and I brought a trailer load of dairy stuff over at the start of March, and now we are busy making low-fat blue top milk and Sark cream. This is now being sold at Food Stop, Mon Plaisir Stores and at the Dairy.
Traditionally, Sark cream should be so thick that you can stand your spoon in it, and that’s certainly the case here!
The milking herd are out both night and day, with the dry cows (pregnant but not in milk, so on their holidays) in the barn at night. We need some rain to make the grass grow in the fields! Why does the lawn always grow faster?

We have had some of the cows calve, ready for the summer visitor rush: Star, Sapphire, Lizzette, Supreme and Emma so far, with Whispa, due shortly. Their offspring will join the milking herd in three years’ time, so plenty of youngsters here! 
In the next few weeks, 3 more ‘in milk’ heifers will be arriving from Guernsey making 25 adults, and the Sark herd will be complete.
Thank you for your continued support, and we look forward seeing you all at the Dairy!” Jason Salisbury

This article first appeared in the Sark Newspaper : May 20th 2022

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