Trink Dairy: Adapting through a pandemic


Business Cornwall has been hearing from a dairy farm based near St Ives on how its adapted since the start of the pandemic and how it even won a Gold Award in the process. 

Here’s the story from Trink Dairy’s Rachel Knowles…

Lockdown had engrained two phrases into our head, being ‘no orders today’ and ‘We’ve had a milk explosion’! We sadly lost 62% of our sales the day of lock down due to the immediate closure of our beloved coffee shops, restaurants and schools. This was alarming as no one could have predicted it, however, as quickly as we lost business we started gaining it as the community of west Cornwall actively chose to shop local.

Rachel and husband Chris Knowles

We believed people were scared of supermarkets and were panic buying, but far from it. Our new customers had time on their hands for both shopping and cooking. Once they started using our milk, they realised it is an amazing product and kept on buying. The increase in sales didn’t stop overnight the customers kept coming to our farm shop which is open 24/7 which is an extremely safe and convenient place to be. Also they increasingly supported the local farm and family shops that we supply.

The key was working with family businesses – these people are a part of their community, know and serve their community. We know them and they know us, we all have each other’s mobile numbers! They put in the hard graft, adapt very quickly and give people the service they want and often needed. Many of these businesses offered a home delivery where none had been offered before. Quickly our brand new website came into its own with the ‘Where to buy‘ section of the website proving it’s worth in gold. Instantly interested parties could search their area for Trink Milk to buy in a farm shop or have a home delivery. Now lockdown has been eased we are adding new shops, coffee shops and restaurants regularly.

The experience of Trink milk has made a huge impression on people, its renewed their faith in milk. Too many have turned away from traditional cows milk as it is not exciting or sexy, the milk that is widely available in shops is both bland and boring because it has been over-processed and not as fresh as it could and should be. Now, however, we have brought back real milk, not processed and ultra-fresh. Our cows graze fresh grass one day, are milked the next morning, then the milk is pasteurised. This fresh milk can be bought in our farm vending machine immediately and often it has been delivered to shops within hours of being pasteurised.

Another difference was seeing friends and neighbours unable to sell anything in lockdown, so a plan was developing. As soon as possible Trink Farm hosted its first open air on-farm farmers market. With the ability to offer space for stallholders and ample free parking we were able to offer a safe environment to buy local produce. Each Monday between 10am and 1pm has seen many locals and visitors attending the farm supporting local businesses.

We are fortunate to have not needed to apply for any Government support packages and pleased to say our sales are going from strength to strength.

However, lockdown could have put pay to our debut entry to the Taste of the West awards.  However with hard work, adaptability and perseverance the judging commenced. We are absolutely thrilled to announce that Trink milk has been awarded a Gold award at the Taste of the West 2020.