In 2013 we were visited by Anna Hill from BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today. She was keen to discover what had prompted Jonny and Dulcie to travel to France in 2012 with a dream of bringing the Montbéliarde breed of cow back to the UK and making a French style brie in Suffolk.
It just so happened that the producer of Farming Today was also one of the script advisors for The Archers. She was intrigued by the Fen Farm Dairy story and contacted us several months later about using the idea of featuring Montbéliarde cows and raw milk cheese for a future storyline. She quizzed Jonny on the making of our Baron Bigod cheese and husbandry of this unique dairy breed, prized by cheesemakers for the high protein content of its milk. Jonny recalls:
“She wanted to hear all about our cows and cheesemaking in a lot of detail. They research their facts really thoroughly to make sure they get everything right.”
The idea for the radio series plot line went ahead in 2018 when Helen Archer’s search for milk of a consistent quality for her Borsetshire Blue led her to the Montbéliarde breed.
Several years on and the Montbéliarde storyline is still regularly mentioned by customers and friends of Fen Farm alike. Jonny explains:
“It’s something that I get asked about all the time. The funny thing is that most people think we took inspiration from The Archers, when in fact it was the other way around!”
Ultimately, we’re just very proud to be associated with the world’s longest running series, which celebrated its 70th anniversary last year, and hope we might inspire further innovative plot lines in the future.