CHRISTMAS LETTER 2001

It has been a hard year. We were fortunate that we did not have foot and mouth on our farm, or any of the neighbouring farms. Our animals were not killed. We shut our gates, and stayed home for about 4 months. As the horrors of the epidemic unfolded, it gradually became clearer that it was not the disease itself that was to be feared, but the treatment applied to it by then MAFF, now Defra. We followed events on the internet, and learned how to use email to great effect - Lawrence was interviewed on several BBC programmes, and quoted in many papers and we were also featured on Radio 4's Food Programme - "the fine cheeses of Middle Campscott".

The greatest effect on us was a strange and forgotten clause in the Dairy Products Hygiene Regulations which forbade the use of unpasteurised milk for cheesemaking in an infected area. The fact that the cheese making process would kill the foot and mouth virus, and that foot and mouth does not affect people did not come into the argument.

Farmers were told to maintain biosecurity, and indeed we disinfected the car on every return journey, and allowed no other vehicles on the farm. On the other hand we were told to open our footpaths. Mud and dung on walkers' boots was evidently not as infective as a similar mixture on the farmers wellies. One group that we stopped on their way through our farm, chattily told us that "when they were walking in the Lake District last week" we did not hear the rest of it, as we were stunned, - it was the height of the disease in that area. And had they cleaned and disinfected their boots? Who knows? We were lucky that time.

Karen returned to the markets in mid July, with much reduced cheese stocks, but some delicious mature cheeses that had been waiting for the end of the restrictions. The markets were quieter despite being the start of the holiday season, and the local feeling is still generally one of anger as to what has been done to countryside businesses and comunities. The new proposed Animal Health Bill is the next major threat to us. It includes the most draconian powers to slaughter animals. It is likely to result in the extermination of many of our traditional breeds of sheep, those on Middle Campscott included. Please look at http://www.warmwell.com/ for further details. Without animals, there can be no meat, no milk, and no cheese, and none of the local speciality foods produced from them.

Animal movements on and off the farm are still very difficult and complicated, but sometime early in the new year, we hope to have some of our organically reared beef and slightly mature lamb/young mutton to sample. 

Our stocks may be reduced, and will only start to recover by the middle of next year, but we do have some super cheeses now. Our Speciality was Commended at this year's Organic Food Awards, and at present is in its softer phase. Our Goat's cheese is now Organic, and especially mild and delicious. Our Campscotts range from mild to full flavoured and some are blue - and we find them delicious. The Cumin is currently sold out and will only be available in the spring.

 We wish you a jolly festive season, and hope that 2002 will be happier in town and country!

 

Karen and Lawrence.

December 2001

Home

Cheese

Wool

Order Form and Price List

Where You Can Buy Our Produce

Photo Gallery

Christmas Letters
2012
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003

-   2001

Links

For further information or mail order contact:
Karen and Lawrence Wright
Middle Campscott Farm
Lee
Ilfracombe
N. Devon
EX34 8LS
ENGLAND
Telephone: 01271 864 621
email: farm@middlecampscott.co.uk