, now the biggest bottler of milk in Devon and Cornwall, began, as most great businesses do, with a dream, an original outlook and a lot of hard graft.
Thirty two years ago Bill and Rachel Clarke bought a farm near Lostwithiel in Cornwall and a couple of dairy herds.
In those days their sons Francis and George were tiny, so they’d bottle the milk once the boys were in bed and deliver it before they woke up in the morning.
Although it was unfashionable back then they put quality ahead of everything else.
They began making clotted cream (now famous across the West Country) in open trays, potting it by hand and selling it to the local shop. The cream was delicious and in 1994 the shopkeeper encouraged them to start their own label and Trewithen Dairy was born. Today Francis and George have both joined the family farm and Trewithen works with 23 farms and processes 80,000 – 120,000 litres of milk every day.
Milk is in their blood, the Clarkes are fond of saying, as their families have been dairy farmers for generations. What sets them apart from many of their competitors is their firm emphasis on making sure their cows live as wholesome a life as possible - happy, healthy Cornish cows is the tagline
This is such a central part of the Trewithen philosophy that the company even has a 3 point charter to ensure their cows are well cared for.
Point one – farmers must recognise cows are individuals with personalities and individual idiosyncracies, to the point where Trewithen cows have their own names.
Point two – Trewithen farmers much commit to the RSPCA principle of five freedoms and the Red Tractor standard
Point three – farmers believe in going the extra mile and have at least one additional special something to ensure their cows are happy and healthy.
Cute and endearing yes, but as the Clarke’s know, healthy, happy cows, produce great milk every day.
And it’s a diligence that has paid off. Trewithen milk and cream is sold in hotels, restaurants and shops throughout the West Country.