Tales from the Barn: Milking the French lifestyle for all it’s worth
And now a peek at what life is like for Peter and Louise Dunn, making cheese in France, and raising goats. Not too shabby;
Louise and Peter have been farming goats since 1990. Other farming activities such as pigs and raspberries have come and gone but the goats have stayed. The herd, begun with 35 females and two males from the UK, has now grown to around 70. The Dunns have always farmed organically as a matter of strong principle, whether certified or not. In 2000, when the dairy they were supplying was planning organic lines, they re-registered for organic certification. The dairy was taken over and the plans disappeared in smoke but happily another dairy came along who now buy most of the Dunns’ milk for organic goats’ cheese.
Having experimented using the back bedroom in a gite as an ‘haloir’ (curing room), in 2008 the Dunns built a cheese room and gained organic certification to produce and sell their own ‘chèvre‘ (goats’ cheese). Since 2009 Louise has been selling the cheese. From the creamy, tangy ‘frais’ to the pungent, matured ‘cendrée’ with its ash-grey coating. She now sells to Biocoop in Périgueux, part of France’s largest organic retail cooperative, as well as organic food cooperatives and local markets.