June 4, 2021

It’s #WorldEnvironmentDay and here at Yorvale we are extremely passionate about the environment, so much so that we farm and produce with the environment in mind!

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How we look after our environment

Fossfield Farm, originally a small dairy farm, is now home to Ian and Lesley Buxton, their 36 girls (cows) and Yorvale. Although the farm has diversified this doesn’t stop us from looking after our environment. As farmers, we have a duty of care to look after our environment, so here’s a few examples of how we do this…

Using natural fertiliser. We only have a small 80-acre farm, just enough to grow grass for grazing as well as growing grass and maize to be cut and preserved ready for the girls in the winter. In order to help the grass and maize crops grow, we opt for using what we have available to us, and on this farm, we have plenty of muck from the girls who have to be housed through the winter. Sadly, Yorkshire gets too cold for them to be outside, the grass doesn’t grow so they don’t have any nutritious food available outside and the more rain we get, the more these heavy girls can cause lasting damage to the fields. The reason muck is spread over the fields is to add fertility to grow the crops and improves the soil structure. Spreading the waste from the cows over the field is an organic way of feeding the fields and recycling the waste.

We’re saving energy. Our 100-kilowatt solar panels provide power for the factory. As Yorkshire doesn’t often get the lion’s share of the sun we also source electricity from Haven Power who supply renewable electricity. Haven Power is part of the Drax Group, Drax is converting to biomass (four out of their six boilers have been converted to biomass) which is a renewable, sustainable form of energy. We also have a heat exchange unit to harvest the heat from the cold room compressors, this gives us free warm water as well as saving energy as the compressors are not having to run as long.

Using an enclosed adiabatic water recycling system. This is an intelligent closed-loop cooling technology that essentially acts as a large radiator. The water in this closed-loop systems flows alongside the various stages of our ice cream production, the water is used to cool the pasteurised ice cream and also cool the compressors attached to the continuous ice cream freezing units. The water then flows to the outside radiator where the fans cool the water back down to an ambient temperature. This system allows us to save water going to waste.

We recycle everything we possibly can. We recycle our waste cardboard and plastic. We carefully control our stock of marketing material to ensure little to no wastage, and with our new packaging, we will make sure to use up the old stock before starting to fill the new packaging- even if we are excited to use them! We also manage to reuse various items from production on the farm, I’m sure you can imagine the number of items that can be upcycled into something useful!

We farm traditionally. Due to our favoured approach of farming in a traditional manner, this makes our way of farming more sustainable. We use what we have available and make conscious decisions based on our farm, our animals and our environment. As we only have a very small herd of 36 cows we are able to milk using traditional methods which means no huge amounts of electricity is needed, just good old fashioned hard work is required!

We farm and produce on Fossfield Farm. This means the milk our girls produce is only ever transported a mere 100 metres across the farm to production to be made into delicious ice cream or Yorlife Kefir. We have plenty of space on our small farm, which means no unnecessary transport of 1,000’s litres of milk. It wasn’t that long ago the milk was moved across in those good old fashioned churns!

We inject our wastewater. The washout water from producing ice cream, sorbets and kefir throughout the year is all stored up in a large tank, this is then injected into the land. This is done for the same reason as muck spreading, it removes the water waste from the factory in an environmentally friendly way and is used again as organic fertiliser to help the crops grow.

We welcome nature into our fields and hedges. Being surrounded by English countryside we have an abundance of wildlife which we work around and try not to disturb. We make sure to cut our hedges by the end of February to allow nesting birds enough time to build their nest and hatch their eggs without being disturbed. We currently have a blackbird nest next to the cow’s barn which we have been monitoring from afar, an array of birds that fly from hedge to hedge down the lane and on a warm summers afternoon, Mr Fox can often be seen in the distance roaming around the fields!

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