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Garhorne Farm, Archdeacon Newton DL2 2YB Darlington, County Durham, United Kingdom
- Organic Products - Bread - Eggs - Milk Products -


About Acorn Dairy
The Tweddle Family
Our family has been farming at Archdeacon Newton since 1928 through four generations.
In common with many consumers, we have become increasingly concerned about the quality of the food we and our children eat and its traceability. As a consequence, in 1998, we began conversion of Garthorne at Archdeacon Newton and Hallwith Farm near Leyburn in Wensleydale to organic status.
The Tweddle family began to deliver milk in the 1930s through to the 1960s, but like many small dairies we were gradually pushed out by larger dairy businesses.
However we have now revived the tradition of doorstep and wholesale delivery with our own ORGANIC MILK and CREAM and other complementary produce through Acorn Dairy.
Gordon & Linda, with son Graham, set up Acorn Dairy in 2000. Daughter Caroline joined them in 2005 as the business grew.
About Acorn Dairy
Organic Farming
Our two herds are managed by a dedicated team, accomplished at working in an organic system with the close attention to detail which is the hallmark of quality organic farming.
About Acorn Dairy
The biggest problem we encountered in changing from intensive conventional commodity production to organic farming was our own mind set. How on earth could we grow healthy crops and animals without the use of fertilisers, pesticides, drugs and chemicals? We had become so enslaved into using drugs and chemicals purely because they have the commercial effect of increased production. Increasing output whilst reducing production costs using such techniques, is seen as the virtuous cycle of the commercial world. Taking the first step outside this intensification cocoon was very difficult.
We went back to the basics and with the assistance of other organic farmers we began to develop systems and procedures which would ensure the prevention of problems occurring in the first place which, in turn would reduce the necessity for corrective measures.
We have developed a crop rotation, mixing spring and autumn sown crops to assist in the arrest of weeds, plant disease and pests. The animals have more space in their housing areas and all the young stock are now kept on the farm and receive more human attention and care than previously. The net effect of this increased farm diversity is to reduce the farm output, which combined with increased costs of production, had to be addressed.
To square this economic circle we now sell directly to the end consumer, cutting out the various middle men, yet retaining realistic competitive prices for our organic produce, delivered direct to the customers’ doors.
The farms completed their conversion period in April 2000, (a period where chemicals are not used on the farm prior to achieving organic certification.) The farms total 680 acres and are of mixed soil type from Limestone rock, sandy clay loam over boulder clay and ranges from peat to heavy blue clay courtesy of the ice age
About Acorn Dairy
Natural sustainable soil fertility
This is built around deep rooting legumes (red clover and beans) and recycling farmyard manure as compost. The legumes maintain a well aerated, free draining soil structure through their rooting system. They also provide a natural fertiliser by fixing nitrogen from the air in a form other plants can use (hence wheat following the clover in the rotation.)
Compost is produced by mixing air with farmyard manure (through a muck spreader) two to three times. This allows the farmyard manure to heat up, killing off any weed seeds and potentially harmfully bacteria. The compost is spread on the fields largely during the spring and summer.
About Acorn Dairy
There are 200 cows at Garthorne and 150 at Hallwith, and 200 young stock, ranging from newly born calves to in-calf heifers.
The cows were originally a mix of British Friesian and Holstein. The breed of the herd is slowly being changed in favour of a traditional breed for this region, the Dairy Shorthorn. We feel this breed is better suited to producing milk from an organic rotation with large amounts of forage, whilst avoiding the intensification problems associated with the Friesian/ Holstein.
All the animals have more space, especially in winter. This reduced intensity has led to fewer health problems. Our policy is to prevent the problem in the first place. If an animal does require treatment, homoeopathy is our first line of defence. We have been amazed as to how successful this method is. We seek to constantly improve our skill levels in this field.
About Acorn Dairy
Wildlife & Environment
The diversity of the wildlife to be found around the farm has increased greatly since the farm entered organic conversion in 1998. Both insects and small birds have benefited from the increased hedgerow size and the absence of chemicals on the farm. At Garthorne, we set aside 10 acres, which has been transformed into a reversion meadow. This involved the digging of ponds, which have been designed specifically for wildlife, namely amphibians and ground nesting birds, such as moorhens and ducks. The ground nesting birds settled onto the island after the second year to protect themselves from predators such as foxes, which are seen regularly around the farm.
Sightings of Kestrels, Skylarks, Sparrowhawks, Curlews, Fieldfares and Herons are more common place since we converted to organic farming.
Other animals such as crows, which can themselves cause damage to cereal crops, do also have a beneficial role to play. Crows will actively hunt out leather jackets and wire worm in ploughed out grassland, so helping to protect the following crop from insect attack.
We see the benefits of this integrated approach to organic farming. Encouraging wildlife and increasing the crop diversity is helping nature keep its natural balance.
We are continuing our environmental schemes (Countryside Stewardship and O.E.L.S.) by laying and coppicing the hedges and replacing Hawthorne Quicks.
Organic Products
We strive to produce milk with the best taste possible, through farming in harmony with the natural environment and excellent animal care, together with a quality customer service.
In response to customer demand, we also supply a range of organic & non-organic products to complement our Milk and Cream.
Tel: 01325 466999 Fax: 01325 464567
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