Who are We?
From stones that rock at midnight, allegedly curing rickets, to ancient markers and ley lines; Trink and its hill offer a rich history for those who wish to delve, however, family Knowles’ story begins a little later than the hamlet’s mid-17th-century foundations…
Farming land for all its time Trink is – to those who live and work here – a very special place; steeped in history, memory and magic. And not just because generations of family and friends have lived, loved, grown, and raised families here.
In fact, the Knowles family story stretches back as early as the 1960’s when John Dibb-Smith – Robert Knowles’ cousin – loaded family and farm – lock, stock and thirty-five cows – on a train from Leicestershire to Cornwall. Two years later, drawn to a new life in the country, by the sea, Robert’s father, hung up his butchers’ apron, and moved his family to Borea not far from Trink. There, the two families farmed their cows across the valley, joined by Robert who worked the farm with his father.
And so it was, until the early 70’s, as the rest of the country swung their flares and made daisy chains, Robert and wife Elizabeth formed a partnership with John Dibb-Smith which was to be the early incarnation of today’s Trink Dairy – Borea and Trink Farms. They merged the land and began milking all the cows at Trink…
Grass to bottle
By the 90’s, after thirty years, John Dibb-Smith was ready to slow the pace, selling his share of the farm to Robert. Then with farming unquestionably in his blood, his son Chris graduated from Seale Hayne Agricultural College and returned to the farm to join his father as a partner in the business. He then, with his new wife Rachel, moved into White Cottage, a small but potentially perfectly formed home in the heart of the farm. As it happens Rachel is also from a Cornish farming family!
Following a trip to Ireland in 1999, Chris saw the potential for harnessing our Cornish climate to nurture the land, thus grazing the cows for more of the year. With that, he set about changing the system to “extended grazing and Spring block calving”. This contributes to land that is cared for and respected, cows that are content and healthy, and milk that tastes just like it used to! Being taken from grass to bottle.
What can we tell you about dairy farming, other than the fact it’s in our blood! There isn’t any job we’d rather do – we are reminded daily how lucky we are to earn a living this way. For example, as we raise our three girls, the experiences they each have, the opportunities for their friends to visit and help, the connection for us all, with land and nature.
Now a family man himself, Chris manages the farm, supported by Rachel in the office. We have a valuable team with Matt, Ben (aka Matt) and Geoff out on the farm. Rachel and Sarah are responsible for processing the milk.
Rob still works with the cows, singing the occasional Gilbert & Sullivan as they milk. He and Liz remain partners in the business, bringing a wealth of experience and wisdom to the family’s decision making. Chris’s Grandparents on both sides of the family were dairy farmers and his Great Grandparents took their milk to St Ives to be sold which would have been over 100 years ago, we wonder what they would think if they could see us now!
What were 35 Ayrshires back in the 60’s, is now over 300 Friesian and Jersey crossbreeds. Trink Dairy is trading as a business, operating as a family and grazing the land at least ten months of the year to produce milk the way it should be, smooth, wholesome and full of dairy goodness.