Downsview Farm is a family business. John Farnes started his first venture over 50 years ago when he bought an 18-gallon milk round. Within two years the milk round had expanded to the point where John was able to achieve his goal – to start farming in his own right. With the help of wife Gillian, John made a success of dairy farming.
In the course of natural succession, John and Gillian have been joined in the business by their son Ralph and daughter Sarah, both of whom have inherited the same entrepreneurial spirit shown by their parents.
In June 2006 we launched the “Downsview Farmhouse” brand of real luxury dairy ice cream, which proved an instant hit with the customers of local eateries and shops. Since then, demand for Downsview Farmhouse products has continued to grow rapidly. We have also expanded our product range to include fresh milk and cream.
The secret behind the Downsview product range, we believe, is the rich milk produced by our own herd of dairy cows. Our future plans include a farm shop at the new Downsview Farm site just outside Ringmer, East Sussex.
We are often asked questions about the “farming side of things”, so if you are interested, please read on…
Our herd of 150 dairy cows is made up mainly of the British Friesian and Dairy Shorthorn breeds, with a small number of the Jersey breed. The cows graze at pasture for the spring and summer months, and are housed in an open-sided building during the winter when the pasture land is too wet to carry cattle.
While housed, the cows eat a diet based on grass and maize silage (ensiling is the process of preserving harvested forage crops naturally). All the grass and maize destined for silage is grown on the farm.
Each cow produces one calf per year (although occasionally twins will be born) and the herd calves throughout the year. The female “heifer” calves are reared for breeding and eventually join the milking herd. The cows are milked twice a day and the milk flows directly from the milking parlour into a refrigerated bulk tank, where it is rapidly cooled before being pasteurized in our dairy.
We take animal welfare very seriously and are in the process of completing the building work on new, purpose-built accommodation for the herd at Downsview Farm. Our attention to detail with herd management pays off as the cows reward us with a supply of the rich, creamy milk that makes the Downsview products so special.