FAMILY AND / OR BUSINESS NAME
David Birtles and Jan Morgan-Birtles – Nanny Janny’s Jersey Ice Cream.
50 cows when the Bar-M Jersey herd evolved in 1999, on a county council holding in Staffordshire, supplying milk to Longley Farm.
The Bar-M herd reduced in number when we left the rented sector in 2013, with the purchase of a smallholding in the neighbouring county of Shropshire. Our herd now numbers 25 head of cattle, ranging from new-born to 10 years old.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU HAD PEDIGREE JERSEYS?
David joined the Jersey Cattle Society in 1985. He had worked for JC Peat and Partners (Mossbank Jerseys) when he left school in the late 1970s and this started David’s interest in owning and showing the cows, which has continued thereafter. Two of our current cow families date back to Mossbank Jerseys.
We farm in the South Shropshire Hills (an area of outstanding natural beauty). The jersey cows have coped well with the move to Shropshire, although they are not greatly impressed by the rainfall or snow. We are at 1000ft and are above the snowline in the winter. Cows are housed in an old-fashioned cowshed and milked on a vacuum line.
SUPPLIES / PRODUCES
The milk is used for the production of ice-cream and raising calves – excess is fed to our small herd of pigs, which in turn, are made into sausages and bacon on the farm in a purpose-designed building. Over 80% of our meat production is sold direct to customers at markets as Muckleton Meats. All calves born are raised to either come into the milking herd, to be sold to other herds or as part of our meat business.
The ice cream is made on the farm, in Nanny Janny’s special ‘Ice Cream room’. It is made in small batches, from the best ingredients and without artificial colouring or artificial sugars. Jan’s recipes are her own, simple, seasonal and made to taste (to take into account different varieties of fruit). Seasonal ice creams produced include Rhubarb, Strawberry, Summer Berries, Gooseberry, Damson and Wimberry. All year round flavours include Vanilla, Chocolate, Mint Choc, Honeycomb, Rum & Raisin, Malibu, Mocha, Coffee, Stem ginger and Irish Cream.
When we were planning the ice cream business, it was important that only our milk and cream were in the finished product. We wanted to avoid any milk or cream ingredients from outside the herd. By careful development of recipes, we have been able to achieve this.
No nuts or gluten are used in, so the only allergen used is milk. Flavours are produced to suit most tastes and constant development of new flavours is undertaken (with very keen volunteers for tasting duties). This is really good quality ice cream, made from natural ingredients. Everything on the farm has a use – even down to the loads of well-rotted farmyard manure we supply to our neighbouring market gardener, who, in turn, supplies fresh seasonal fruit for the ice cream. Find out more about Nanny Janny’s Jersey Ice Cream in the Jersey Producers Directory
WHAT WAS YOUR REASON FOR CHOOSING TO MILK PEDIGREE JERSEY CATTLE?
The high constituents of the Jersey milk make a useful and adaptable product. We love the personalities of the cows but they also produce plenty of excellent milk whilst not taking up a lot of space and they are light on the ground, causing less damage when conditions are wet.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE JERSEY BREED AND IN PARTICULAR YOUR HERD?
Jersey cows are great to work with, they work hard, always grazing and converting pasture into an excellent product. They respond well to a paddock system and we change them from daytime to night-time as they enjoy something new. They are a joy to own and a pleasure to see.