A huge gap in the island market is set to be filled next month, as the first batch of home-produced milk from Brogaidh’s Dairy in Bragar lands on doorsteps on October 1st.
It’s a family business, headed up by Scott ‘Brogaidh’ Mackay with the help of his father Gordon, mother Colleen and sisters Caroline and Heather. The ‘Brogaidh’ name belongs to them all, coming from Gordon’s grandfather Iain back in the early part of the 20th century.
It’s been a long road ‘from the moo to you’ for the Mackay family, with over four years of planning and development, but Monday evening (September 17th) found them on a high with a thumbs-up from environmental health inspectors. The million-pound development at Moorpark Farm includes a milking shed and state-of-the-art pasteurisation, chilling and bottling equipment.
Gordon said: said: “The pasteuriser is working a treat and the ice builder chilling milk right down, with the chilled milk then going through the pipework to the bottle filler. All done in two hours from cow to bottle – you can’t get any fresher than that!”
The first deliveries will be of full-cream milk, but there are big plans for future ranges – semi-skimmed milk and fresh cream within a couple of months, followed later by butter and ice-cream. Brogaidh’s has planning permission for a new building where crowdie will be produced and, in the further future, perhaps other cheeses.
The herd of premium milk-producers are all pedigree Guernsey and Ayrshire cattle, some already on the farm and more set to be delivered during the next week. Most of the cows have been grazing Bragar grass for some months and have shown themselves well able to withstand island weather extremes.
Gordon said: “We wanted to produce something special and I am sure when customers buy our milk they will understand why we went for the cattle we did. All our cattle have come from coastal farms, so are well suited to bad weather and they handle the conditions here very well. Part of our herd is still on the mainland – they go out for a short holiday and we bring calved cows home, so it works well for us as we are limited here for land.”
Scott has opened two crofts into one to create the large areas of grazing needed. At the farm itself are the new sheds and processing areas, with space for further development as the business expands.
Monday was a big day for the dairy, the inspection essential to allow them to trade. Gordon said: “Thanks to Environmental Health for their kind help getting the premises passed – it’s been a big relief with just a little paperwork to be completed and then we are up and running. Delivery of island-fresh milk will soon be on the doorsteps throughout Lewis and Harris.
“With over a million pound investment in the dairy and herd it has been well worth the sleepless nights and hard work to get the dairy up and running for the Island. We can’t thank everyone enough for the kind support and we hope you can now start to enjoy our special island fresh milk in the years ahead.”
You can also follow the dairy on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Broga