Dairy ends milk processing after 30 years

By Ross Findon

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


CHEAP supermarket prices have been partly blamed for the decision to end milk processing at an Isle of Wight farm.

Rew Valley Dairies announced its decision at the weekend, leaving three milk processors on the Island — Wight Milk at Coppid Hall Farm, Queen Bower Dairy and Briddlesford Farm — as well as around 15 dairy herds.

Although Rew Valley will continue to transport Isle of Wight milk, as well as produce biscuits, Jenny Harvey, who helps run the family business, said they would no longer process or bottle milk after 30 years, leading to the loss of five jobs.

It follows the sale of the farm’s bacon production business to fellow Islanders Brownrigg’s. The farm sold its dairy herd two years ago and bought in milk from other Island dairies.

Mrs Harvey said they had always been well supported by Tescos but added: "We can’t really compete with the price in the big supermarkets."

She said the decision was also partly due to a desire to scale back the business after 30 years of hard work. Despite efforts to minimise redundancies, a processor, three drivers and a sales representative are set to lose their jobs.

MP Andrew Turner, who helped co-ordinate the I love Isle of Wight Milk campaign — of which Rew Valley played an important part — said Islanders would still be able to enjoy Isle of Wight milk.

"It’s very sad supermarkets use milk as a loss leader, we all know this causes difficulties for dairy farmers.

"However the campaign was supported by many Islanders and the drive to support our dairy farmers by using local milk goes on. There is still milk being produced, processed and packaged on the Island and I would urge people to look out for it and support local producers where possible."

Louise Hart, of Calbourne Classics — which carries the I love Isle of Wight Milk branding on its ice cream packaging — said Rew Valley’s decision would mean little change for customers, who would still be able to buy Isle of Wight milk.

Reporter: ross.findon@iwcp.co.uk


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by Mike Powell

24th April 2014, at 11:59:10

I also buy the cheapest if it was from the Island then that's fine but whoever sells the cheapest, just like petrol and everything else.

Bring in Asda the sooner the better.

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by Dave James

24th April 2014, at 11:20:31

When it comes to IOW products you should all visit your local Southern Co-operative store. They all stock a range of local products with the Cowes and Freshwater stores having the biggest variety.

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by Baz Taylor

24th April 2014, at 10:40:52

I'll save money wherever I can and if milk is cheaper in large supermarkets, then that's where I'll buy it from.
I've never seen a poor farmer either!

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by Mark Penny

23rd April 2014, at 19:26:03

There are also other factors you are not party too, which prevent some supermarkets stocking some island produce.
Also, you can find island tomatoes at the supermarkets today, if you looked hard enough.
I am afraid peoples shopping habits have changed so much over the last 5 years, people won't go back to visiting a butcher, baker, green grocer, fishmonger every week. Things have moved on, I admit not always for the better, but ultimately it's us the consumer that chooses to go to the supermarket, and not the farm, therefore it's ALL of our faults these businesses are struggling or going under!

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by Stephen Elliott

23rd April 2014, at 19:25:09

Indeed James. Must of all been on holiday.

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by Andrew Duggan

23rd April 2014, at 18:19:18

Sam, simply selling local produce won't help. And I think you will find that a good deal of the salad crops used ARE from the Island anyway.

Now, if people REFUSED to shop at large retailers and instead sourced their food locally, that might make a difference.

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by Tony Tiltman Jnr

23rd April 2014, at 17:35:18

Reading the article its not all down to Supermarkets the lady has said the desire to scale back their business was also a factor 30 years of milk production is hard work but it sounds like the will has been lost to carry on.
Whats the saying ...... i've never saw a poor farmer.

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by neil jacks

23rd April 2014, at 15:02:16

Nice idea Sam but I think we all know it wont happen.

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by sam smith

23rd April 2014, at 14:56:19

Sad news indeed. Long standing local businesses like this are going to the wall and yet the majority applaud even more large supermarkets opening over here. The big supermarkets should be forced to sell our local produce, and pay well for it and sell it competitively priced. They could still make their massive profits on produce not grown or made on the Island. Try and find local garlic, tomatoes, fresh veg and cheese at most of them, it's not easy.

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by James McAdder

23rd April 2014, at 13:23:57

Nice to see the IWCP is on the ball. The BBC reported this 4 days ago (19th April)

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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