Crawford's Farm

   Photo:  Owen and Mimi from Crawford's farm at a farmers market.

Crawford’s farm is a small certified organic farm dedicated to regenerative farming and production of high quality, high nutrition food.  The diversified, organic farm is on a plot of 30 acres, with a herd of just six Irish Shorthorn cows. The farm is located near the ecovillage in Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary, Ireland.

Owners Owen and his partner Mimi got together in 2006 and now they produce and sell (unpasteurised) raw milk, raw cream and raw butter from their pasture-raised cows.  The cows are milked through the 10 month grazing season and this produces the most nutrient dense and creamy milk.  After milking, the milk is filtered, chilled and bottled and sold unpasteurised for human consumption.  The cream is separated in small batches throughout the week and butter is handmade once a week. Owen and Mimi was inspired by Stephen Hook, an English dairy farmer featured in the documentary film The Moo Man.

History:  In 1996 the Department of Agriculture banned the sale of raw milk in Ireland because of concerns for public health.  Ten years later in 2006/7 that ban was overturned because EU hygiene legislation legally permitted it.  Since then it has opened the doors for farmers to sell raw milk again, but not without controversy, uncertainty and the risks associated with having no standards or regulation for the next ten years.  Raw milk needs to come from healthy herds of cows on a grass diet.

Lobby group Raw Milk Ireland had been campaigning for four years against a proposed ban on the sale of raw milk, until they welcomed a 2015 decision from the government to engage with producers and regulate its production and sale instead. 

Raw Milk Ireland has the support of high-profile advocates like chef, food writer Darina Allen, Sheridan's Cheesemongers and others. They (and producers) are working with government officials to draft regulations for the production and sale of raw milk in Ireland.  Raw Milk production is currently regulated under general requirements in current EU hygiene legislation and all raw milk suppliers supplying more that 30 liters per week, should be registered with the Department of Agriculture. The sale of unpasteurised milk is now legal in Ireland and a list of Irish raw milk producers can be found here.

In addition to abiding by these standards, Crawford's farm have instituted a HACCP and operational procedures to ensure the health of the cows and the quality and safety of the milk.  Crawford’s farm go beyond what is required by regulation by sending milk samples for a variety of tests each month and twice yearly vet tests for common diseases.  Owen says that raw milk is like any other food that can become contaminated, but with good animal husbandry, clean cows before milking and a high hygiene standard in the processing area, it can be produced well.  See Crawford's Farm Raw Milk FAQ for more info. 

Mimi say that many people who seek out raw milk do so because of health problems, eczema or an intolerance to dairy.  Demand is high and although there are still controversies around it, the farm is sticking with the raw dairy products. Crawford’s farm has a large community of people who publicly support them: retail stores like Sheridans Cheesemongers and The Hopsack and organisations like Raw Milk Ireland.  These people know the value of raw milk for the community and they treasure it.

In July 2017, Crawford's Farm was awarded a Euro-Togues Food Award for their 'creamy raw milk' from their eight Shorthorn cows. This annual award is bestowed by Irish chefs for delicious food.


Good morning ladies. Ready to share a bit of milk? #irishshorthorn #milkingtime

A photo posted by Owen and Mimi (@crawfordsfarm) on


 
 

Videos:

The Hopsack interviews Mimi.

RTE's Ear to the Ground. A story from 2014, before Ireland decided to regulate the production and sale of raw milk.  With David Tiernan and head of Food Safety Authority of Ireland prof. Alan Reilley.

RTE's Ear to the Ground Dec 2014 story about Crawford's Farm with Helen Carroll starting at 8:30 minutes. A great story!

 

Audio:

BBC Radio 4's Farming Today: raw, unpasteurised milk in Ireland:  Ella McSweeney speaks with dairy farmer David Tiernan on his Co. Louth farm about why he sells raw milk; she also talks with the head of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, Prof Alan Reilly, who believes the sale of it should be prohibited. (for BBC Radio 4's Farming Today).  From Jan 2013.

 

 

Quotes:

“I am passionate about the raw milk as well as all aspects of sustainability and having our own food.  It’s not only a healthy food but it’s a good enterprise that we can do as a small farm.  It’s a sustainable enterprise and it’s a wonderful product.” - Mimi

“I’ve always enjoyed drinking raw milk and for a farm our size, organic dairying is not viable. Raw milk is a viable enterprise for us that we can make a living off.  And we’re cutting out the middle man and selling direct to the customer.” - Owen

"People lived on raw milk for a long time. Anyone will tell you that the calcium in milk is less accessible to the body when the milk has been pasteurised."

"We have people whose children have asthma or eczema who report that they find enormous improvements in the child's condition, and sometimes cure it completely."  - Celebrity chef, food writer and tv personality Darina Allen

"People lived on raw milk for a long time. Anyone will tell you that the calcium in milk is less accessible to the body when the milk has been pasteurised," Allen explains. Customers have reported a number of health benefits from drinking unpasteurised milk, she says. "We have people whose children have asthma or eczema who report that they find enormous improvements in the child's condition, and sometimes cure it completely." Celebrity chef Darina Allen"People lived on raw milk for a long time. Anyone will tell you that the calcium in milk is less accessible to the body when the milk has been pasteurised," Allen explains. Customers have reported a number of health benefits from drinking unpasteurised milk, she says. "We have people whose children have asthma or eczema who report that they find enormous improvements in the child's condition, and sometimes cure it completely." Celebrity chef Darina Allen"People lived on raw milk for a long time. Anyone will tell you that the calcium in milk is less accessible to the body when the milk has been pasteurised," Allen explains. Customers have reported a number of health benefits from drinking unpasteurised milk, she says. "We have people whose children have asthma or eczema who report that they find enormous improvements in the child's condition, and sometimes cure it completely." Celebrity chef Darina Allen"People lived on raw milk for a long time. Anyone will tell you that the calcium in milk is less accessible to the body when the milk has been pasteurised," Allen explains. Customers have reported a number of health benefits from drinking unpasteurised milk, she says. "We have people whose children have asthma or eczema who report that they find enormous improvements in the child's condition, and sometimes cure it completely." Celebrity chef Darina Allen"People lived on raw milk for a long time. Anyone will tell you that the calcium in milk is less accessible to the body when the milk has been pasteurised," Allen explains. Customers have reported a number of health benefits from drinking unpasteurised milk, she says. "We have people whose children have asthma or eczema who report that they find enormous improvements in the child's condition, and sometimes cure it completely." Celebrity chef Darina Allen
 

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Posted on August 3, 2016 and filed under Raw Milk production, Raw Milk.