Knowing every step of the journey our food takes isn’t just about meat.
Garstang-based cheesemaker Dewlay’s has been making Lancashire cheese for 60 years and, as well as an on-site shop where visitors can buy the cheese, they can also view the production process from a gallery.
To help with their energy credentials, bosses at the business have erected their own wind turbine with the capacity to power the entire facility.
Shop manager Laura Barnes said: “The wind turbine has certainly attracted a lot of interest from local groups wanting to know more about how it works, but it is also important that we do our bit for renewable energy.
“Retailers look to see what initiatives suppliers have in terms of going green, so we feel this has helped us.”
The cheesemaking process at Dewlays involves milk arriving every day and being processed the following day.
First the milk is pasteurised before adding starter culture and rennet, which coagulates the milk into curds and whey.
This is then left to set and is cut by hand to drain the whey. Salt is then added by hand, the curd is milled and placed into moulds to be pressed and left to mature.
A Crumbly is matured from two to four weeks, a Creamy Lancashire for six to 12 weeks, and a Tasty Lancashire for up to eight months.
Laura said: “Our ingredients are rather straightforward and so our supplier base is also very low, with our relationships with suppliers stretching back many years. The biggest and most important ingredient is of course milk.
“We source milk from 10 local farmers all within six miles of the dairy.
“They are family-run farms and we have a really close relationship with them as we have worked with them for years.”
As well as energy, the company is also making sure their business doesn’t leave a lasting impact on the environment.
Laura said: “We are constantly looking at our wastage figures, and reducing our landfill waste for this to be recycled or recovered.
“In fact, in the last quarter, figures from our waste collector showed that 100 per cent of our waste was either recycled or recovered. That means none of our waste went to landfill, which is great.”
Another company which takes an ethical approach very seriously is Walling’s in Cockerham.
Peter Walling has been making ice cream at Wallings Farm for over 20 years.
At peak times Peter and his staff can make in the region of 5,000 litres a week.
But that doesn’t mean scrimping on locally-sourced quality products.
He said: “All products are either sourced locally or produced on site. The farm produces 100 per cent of the milk used in the ice cream products which is yielded from cows just metres away from the food production site.
“The milk is brought to the manufacturing facility from the same yard.”
Part of the manufacturing process means heating the milk and uses a large amount of energy.
To help with this, solar panels were recently installed to make the process more environmentally friendly.
Peter admits that, in the rainy North West, the panels can’t yet produce all the energy needed for the process but it’s a “step in the right direction” and the company is now looking at wind power in an attempt to further boost its green power.
On site, Wallings boasts a butcher, farm shop and garden centre alongside their ice cream parlour but they also supply a range of local businesses and are stocked at Popes Farm Shop in Leyland, Ferraris of Longridge and served up at The Sparling of Barton.