La Feirme de la Rochette is located in the picturesque coastal region of La Rochelle in the west of France and is owned and farmed by the Chabot family, Audrey and David and their eight-year-old boy Clemence and four-year-old girl Gabriel.

David took over the farm from his father in 2009.

The biggest part of their farming business is the dairy herd and they milk 60 cows year-round using a Lely robot.

Producing 600,000 litres of milk annually, they currently receive a milk price of 33c/l from their local co-op.

Higher margin

Last year, they decided to try to capture a higher margin on their milk and, to that end, invested in a pasteurising and constructed a milk processing unit with a shop and office on the grounds of the farm.

Audrey gave up her full-time job to work on this new enterprise alongside her husband.

The couple manufactures and sell yoghurt, cream, ice-cream, rice pudding and pasteurised milk in their farm shop.

Today, they manufacture yoghurt, cream, ice-cream, rice pudding and pasteurised milk which they sell direct from their shop four days per week - Wednesday to Friday 3pm-6pm and Saturdays 10am-12pm.

By selling through their own farm shop, they receive 80c/l of milk if the customer provides their own reusable glass bottles, which they also sell in store.

Recently, they have started supplying two local stores and they also supply direct to a local nursing home.

Typical day

At the moment, a typical day starts at 5am in the processing unit where the milk is pasterurised.

The cows are milked using a Lely robot.

From 7am to 9am, it’s general work with the herd, followed by the school run and then back into the processing unit making ice-cream, rice pudding and other products until 1pm.

After lunch, there’s usually some field work and caring for their herd, as well as preparing for the opening of the shop at 3pm.

The shop opens from 3pm-6pm and is followed by an hour of clean-up and administration.

The Chabots milk 60 cows all year, producing 600,000 litres.

The first anniversary of their new business will be 26 September, by which time they expect to have used 150,000 litres of milk.

As well as increasing their margin on their milk, the couple hope that when their new dairy business is further established that they can secure a better work-life balance for their young family.