Unique

Our cows eat their natural diet

Our very small herd of Jersey cows is grazed all year round on diverse organically managed pastures. They eat grass, clover, wildflowers, a diverse mixture of highly nutritious herbs and have access to hedgerows and browsing trees. In the winter this diet is supplemented with our own home-grown hay from these same pastures. We use Holistic Planned Grazing (mob grazing) to ensure our cows always have access to the most nutritious selection of pasture species and our cows transform these beautiful diverse foods into delicious nutrient-rich milk.

It is very important to us at Smiling Tree that our ‘grass-fed’ cows really are 100% grass fed. They never get grains, soya, root crops, brassicas or silage. These are not part of a cow’s natural diet and they can all have detrimental effects either to her health or to the taste and quality of her milk. Grains are a particular problem as they adversely change the composition of milk, alter its healthy balance of fats and inhibit the activity of the natural enzymes and beneficial probiotic bacteria.  

Our cows are all A2 cows

All the cows in our milking herd have been individually tested and all carry only A2 beta-casien protein to ensure your milk does not contain any of the mutant A1 protein.  

Our cows are milked only once a day

The fact that they are milked just once a day is as vitally important as our cows' solely pastural diet in yielding a super concentrated, nutrient-rich milk. Cows can only metabolise a certain volume of nutrients each day, so by milking them just once, we allow these nutrients to be concentrated into that one udder full. The result is rich, creamy and highly nutritious milk with the health benefits described below.  

Our cows keep their calves

We strive for quality, not quantity. We focus not only on the quality of the produce but also on the animals' quality of life. Dairy cows are extremely mumsy and they love their calves. This is why we are a cow-calf dairy, allowing our cows to keep their calves. We care for our Jerseys thoughtfully, to ensure that both cows and calves live contented, healthy and stress-free lives.

Our cows’ milk is bottled and labelled individually

So that you know which cow your milk is from.

Our unique raw milk

Tasty

A cow's diet directly influences the taste of her milk. Raw Jersey milk from our cows has a mild sweetness and a rich, smooth creaminess.

Natural variations add depth and flavour, reflecting seasonal changes in the cows' diet as well as characteristics of the specific field and the particular forage they have access to. 

The taste of raw milk can even reflect features of an individual cow: her breed and age, how far into her lactation she is and whether or not she is still suckling her calf. 

This tasty, rich creaminess also distinguishes our raw Jersey cream and butter, which, although produced in our shining state-of-the-art creamery, is still handmade using artisanal methods.

Read more about what makes our produce taste amazing here.

Raw Jersey cream and butter

Healthy

Raw dairy from Jersey cows fed their natural diet is a whole food that is nutritionally dense. 

Milk is mostly water. What gives it colour, taste and nutritional value are the milk solids that the cow produces from what she eats. These solids are made up of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, milk sugars, enzymes and probiotics and their exact composition and quality are directly related to the cow's diet, health and contentment. This is why we like our cows to lead long, relaxing, stress-free lives.

Jersey milk naturally contains higher levels of milk solids than that from other breeds. So when milked once a day, a Jersey can yield 15% of milk solids compared with 7% in the daily output for a standard cow milked twice or more.

Jersey milk is yellowy in colour due to the beta-carotene content from grazing out at grass. The human body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A, essential for healthy skin and mucus membranes, the immune system and eye health.

Raw Jersey milk is high in healthy fatty acids and is a good source of conjugated linoleic acids (CLAs), which are a potent cancer fighter. CLAs have also been linked with long-term weight maintenance as well as many more general health benefits.

Raw milk from 100% grass-fed cows also contains naturally high levels of omega-3's and low omega-6's, as well as beneficial melatonin – which supports sound sleep and good moods – and vitamin D as a result of the cows grazing in the sun.

Unlike standard milk, our raw milk is neither homogenised nor pasteurised. So the cream separates naturally, enzymes and probiotic bacteria are not destroyed, proteins are not denatured and cholesterol remains in a natural form that our bodies can directly use.

Artisanal

In exceptional organic vineyards, where the harvest is influenced by terroir, the characteristic taste and flavour are imparted to a wine by the environment in which it is produced.

Similarly, on the ancient rolling hills of Shropshire here at Smiling Tree Farm, our south-facing slopes of mineral-rich soils and diverse pastures, herbal leys and wildflower meadows impart a unique taste and nutritional richness to our raw dairy.

However, unlike in a vineyard where grapes are harvested at the same time each year, here we milk all year long and the seasonal changes can be tasted. In the spring, as the increasingly long days drive grass gowth with much higher plant sugars, the cows produce lots of sweet milk. Later in autumn, as the grass growth slows right down and the cows are also given hay, they produce deliciously concentrated milk with minerally undertones. 

Mineral rich soils of Shropshire

Clean & licenced

We are fastidious in our hygiene and cleanliness when milking the cows. Each cow is scrupulously cleaned before being milked using the same pre-operational scrub that is used in hospitals. 

We are inspected and licenced by the Food Standards Agency to sell raw milk and have been highly commended for our concern and processes that ensure animal and dairy hygiene. The FSA take milk samples every three months to test for total bacterial counts and also for coliforms, which detect if there is any contamination in the milk. In addition, we send our milk for testing every two weeks to ensure we continue to meet our high standards.

The test results consistently show that we far exceed the licensing threshold, so you can be sure that your raw milk is clean and pure.

Milking a Jersey cow

Compassionately produced

We have a very small herd of Jersey cows, so we have more time for every animal. Each is known by name and as a matter of routine, all the cows keep their calves at foot. The health, comfort and happiness of both cow and calf are our primary concern. Read more about how we look after our joyful Jerseys.

The Jerseys at Smiling Tree are raised using pastoral farming methods that include organic, permaculture and holistic management practices. This not only keeps the land healthy but the cows and calves benefit from these natural farming methods too. 

Calf-at-foot dairy