Husband and wife team Judith and Clive Freane run Perridge Farm, near Pilton, which covers 480 acres of organic land. Their dairy herd consists of 100 Guernsey cows. The couple converted to organic farming some years ago, ahead of the trend and adhering to the strict UKFROS regulations. Furthermore, all operations including yoghurt making and butchery take place on site, keeping their carbon footprint very low indeed. 

Their produce, which includes yoghurt, beef and even full hide rugs are on sale direct to consumers through the website or via exclusive retailers.

They have received a host of accolades including the Organic Food Awards six years running, and others from organisations such as the Soil Association, supermarket chain Waitrose and the Women in Ethical Business Awards.

Brown Cow Organics will be launching their range of finished goods in November, and will feature hair-on rugs, cushions, handbags and travel hold-alls, which will all be sold through the website. As a limited number of hides are produced on the farm (two per week), there can only be a limited number of bags making this a unique and exclusive product.

As the British consumer becomes increasingly mindful of concerns such as ‘organic’, traceability and carbon footprint, it makes sense that their high-end bag has a story. The cycle begins with crops grown organically in Somerset, which are then used to feed the herd.

The milk is used to make yoghurts for Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s River Cottage range, while the meat is then sold to high-end butchers in an exclusive area of London frequented by Hugh’s fellow ‘celebrity chef’ Nigella Lawson. After processing, the two hides per week produced are assembled by hand into finished articles at Owen Barry, just a few miles away. Although the tanning is currently done in Italy, Judith hopes to switch to a local tannery in the near future.

The process is so transparent and ‘traceable’ that the company could go as far as putting the cow’s ear tag identification number on the bag – if the market could stand it!

Judith Freane feels that the hair-on look of the product is part of the brand as it enables the consumer to identify it with Brown Cow. She stated that a total of 400 designers have used fur in their Autumn/Winter collection this year – with obvious ethical implications. The Brown Cow ‘hair-on’ look taps into this trend whilst providing the consumer with a guarantee that the animal has been treated well, and all production processes have been carried out in an ethical way.