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Business & Economy

Acorn Dairy celebrates 25 years of organic farming

A family-run dairy has praised the impact of a “left field” switch after hitting an operational milestone.

Acorn Dairy is celebrating 25 years of organic farming.

The business axed routine antibiotic and chemical use in 1998, stripping processes “back to basics”.

And bosses Gordon and Linda Tweddle who, alongside children Graham and Caroline, oversaw the conversion of the Archdeacon Newton-based farm, near Darlington, say the move continues to deliver sizeable benefits.

Graham said: “Organic farming was still a relatively ‘left field’ concept when we chose it.

“And we faced a steep learning curve on how to produce food without modern chemicals.

“However, working alongside the Soil Association, we soon discovered it was all about working with nature.

“All the animals have plenty of space indoors during the winter and graze outside for the rest of the year, and all of our cows enjoy high levels of human care and attention.

“The result is relaxed, healthy cows, which produce delicious milk.”

The move has also benefited wildlife around the dairy, which was previously handed a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for its commitment to sustainable development.

Caroline added: “The farm provides habitat for more than 80 species of bird.

“And having seen the impact of our move to organic, we’ve made a number of changes in more recent years.

“We now create and use our own green energy from our on-site wind turbine and solar panels.

“We bottle all milk in our own plant and we use glass bottles, which cuts 425kg per week of plastic from the local food chain.”