Fair Cape invited a few bloggers to experience how they are effectively running their farm with solar energy during day time hours. I loved driving to the farm, there’s something about driving up a dirt road with the the barn almost rising in front of you that makes one feel part of an almost cinematic experience. The farm is situated in Cape Farms, just outside of Durbanville. It is a fresh, tranquil space.
We spent the first few minutes socializing and trying some of Fair Capes juice. I already love their juice so I know my favourite products. We then got to learn about how our local dairy farmers at Fair Cape are doing their part to minimize their environmental impact.
We learnt that Fair Cape Eco-Fresh is the only “single-origin dairy brand” in South Africa, which means that all their milk comes from cows on their Fair Cape farm. And what this means is that the changes that they make to the sustainability of their farm’s operations pass directly to you, the consumer.
On 24 October 2018 (World Climate day) Fair Cape Dairies switched to solar energy. This solar technology ensures that all of their milking is done off-grid. This lessons their reliance on traditional power producers and reduces their carbon footprint.
The thing I enjoyed learning about most is how well Fair Cape is looking after its cows. They are the only commercial diary farm in the country where all its milk comes from a single heard of cows, on a single farm. Fair cape has an Animal Welfare programmer works to ensure that their cows are healthy and happy by providing the cows with spacious housing inside large sheds. The sheds are usually 10 degrees cooler than outside. The cows are free to roam outside, however, when its hot they prefer being under the roof. We got to see this first hand when we head out on a tour of the farm.
Another luxury the cows enjoy massage machines inside the shed that cows have access to whenever they feel the need for a little pampering. While we were touring, one of the cows walked up to the machine and enjoyed getting its back massaged.
The cows had free access to food and water while in the shed as well. There was staff on duty making sure the ground was constantly cleaned and that their environment was peaceful and ideal.
What was very interesting was that the cows knew their schedules. When it came to milking time they would get up and walk towards the milking area. They seemed to be happy with their schedules and they didn’t need someone to be ‘herding’ them. When they enter the milking factory they stand on the milking table and fitted with a tag which is linked to a computer which can identify who she is and if she was milked already or not. The cows usually get milked three times a day. They also monitor the milk volume each cow produces. If the milk yield decreases, it is an indication that the cow is not well. They have a vet which see’s to the cows immediately should they discover any irregularities.
These cows definitely seem to be living a very comfortable life for how hard they are working to produce our delicious dairy products.
I really enjoyed learning about Fair Cape and how they are doing what they can to contribute towards carbon reduction. They have created new yellow bottle caps for their milk to increase awareness about their new eco fresh milk. Have a look for it the next time you visit the stores.