A Summary of 2018 from Richard Hollingbery, Founder & Managing Director, Godminster

A Summary of 2018 from Richard Hollingbery, Founder & Managing Director, Godminster

What a year 2018 has been!  Looking out from my office at the leftovers from Storm Deidre, we seem to be exactly where we were at my last time of writing in the sodden spring, and it now seems difficult to remember just what a unique summer we enjoyed.

We’ve been humbled and excited in equal measures with the success our products have had again this year at a succession of awards ceremonies, including 3 Gold awards for our Vintage Organic Cheddar at the Global Cheese Awards.  Most recently, we won a Gold at the prestigious World Cheese Awards for our Oak-Smoked Vintage Organic Cheddar in November.

It wasn’t just the cheddar that’s been collecting trophies in 2018; our Beetroot & Apple Chutney won Gold at the Taste of the West Awards, and there were two stars and one star at the Great Taste Awards for our Oat Digestive and Rosemary Water Biscuits respectively,

And this year it was lovely to pick up the Food & Drink Producer title at the Muddy Stilettos awards here in Somerset.  All of that on top of recognition at the British Cheese Awards, International Cheese Awards and the South West Cheese Awards.

From my perspective this range of awards reflects what we have set out to achieve – through good planning and execution we are now touching all categories and areas of the market (even the under 10s!). For this I thank everyone involved for playing their part in achieving these goals.

We’ve been working hard at our Bruton shop, moving things around and bringing in some guest ranges from local producers like Somerset Charcuterie and The Chocolate Society.  If you’ve driven past recently, you’ll notice some bold new signage by the entrance to the car park, and above our door. 

Our Sales & Marketing team moved in to brand-new purpose-built offices beside the shop which have given our growing team more space and an environment more fitting to the work they do.  In the warehouse we are delighted that we started our preparations for the winter season much earlier this year, although these last weeks always prove to be testing times in terms of sheer volume…

In the same breath, whilst the glorious summer was ‘spot-on’ for the sun-lovers amongst you it certainly made for a tough time for Pete and his team on the farm; having made twice the usual quantity of near perfect hay we were suddenly faced with an extremely hungry set of milkers with little or no fresh grass to satisfy their needs. Like most livestock farms the length of the country we were suddenly faced with the scary prospect of digging into our best winter feed – in July!

Of course, with every cloud (or lack of!) there is a silver lining and this summer allowed us to enjoy our earliest ever harvest as well as the luxury of zero drying costs for the cereals, which is always a bonus to the business.

On top of this we also created time to cultivate the stubbles after harvest, which should have the effect of reducing weed burdens next year and therefore increasing yields due to decreased competition for light. We have since planted winter ‘cover’ crops on these stubbles, which protect our precious soil from erosion during the winter months with the bonus of providing a haven for beloved wildlife. In the spring we will mulch these crops, thus returning a maximum amount of goodness to the soil for use by the next crop.

Our autumn calving period, whilst very hectic, went particularly well this year, which is a testament to all the hard work put in by the team at Godminster Farm. It is particularly interesting to acknowledge that all visitors to the farm (whether involved in the industry or not) now notice how incredibly relaxed the whole herd has become, especially when they are massaging themselves on our new ‘cow brush’ which has been placed in their living area for ad-lib use! I feel a webcam coming on….

Finally, I would like to thank all of you for your loyal custom and continued support, and for your interest in what we do here at Godminster and on the farm.  I look forward to updating you all in 2019 with news of our future plans.

Happy Christmas and see you all in 2019!

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