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Day in the Life: Jane Mackie of Rora Dairy, Aberdeenshire

Jane Mackie tells us about her day on the farm, where they produce yoghurt and milk

Published: August 23, 2021
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5.45am

As soon as my alarm rings I jump up and head over to the factory to check the pH levels of the yoghurt. We produce it with milk from our organic family farm so our production is done on-site - it’s a very short commute.

6.30am

The staff arrive and prepare the yoghurt to be chilled or potted while I head to the office. We make it with live culture and no unnecessary added sugars or additives. I have to make sure that everything’s in order and that fruit has arrived from other local farms for our strawberry, raspberry and blueberry versions.

8am

I pop back to the house and have breakfast with my husband. We chat about the day ahead, and our sons will join us if they’re home. Then I walk our Labrador and springer spaniel up to the wind turbine, which powers the farm. We’ve worked hard to reintroduce woodlands and nature corridors so that it’s more bio-diverse.

9am

We have regular visits from chefs, buyers and other food producers, as well as people staying in our cottages, so I often do tours of the factory and farm.

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11.30am

Time to hop in the van and drive the yogurt along to a nearby business who deliver it to Sainsbury’s on our behalf. When I get back we finish up production anytime between 2pm and 3pm.

2.30pm

Back home for lunch. In the summer I like to make a salad or a hearty sandwich. In winter it’s homemade soup. Working from home, with the factory nearby, helps me balance family life around the business, and we sit down to eat together when we can. 

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3pm

After lunch it’s admin time. Day-to-day there’s lots of paperwork to get done but I constantly have my eye on new products and am fine-tuning our production processes to ensure we’re developing a really sustainably packed product.

5pm

Back out for some fresh air and to walk the dogs again. This time a longer stroll, for around 40 minutes. I also have two holiday cottages on the farm that I manage, so on Mondays and Fridays I check that they’re ready for visitors.

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6pm

A moment to put my feet up with a cup of tea, and a chat with my children or call my mother who lives in America. I have four siblings - my brothers and sister also run their own businesses, so I’ll give them a call to share work highs and lows together. I also use this time to check our @roradairy social media accounts.

7pm

My final visit to the factory where I prepare a batch of yoghurt for the following day.

8pm

I leave for the day and let the product incubate overnight. Before I finish for the day I write a list of what needs to be done tomorrow, then I’ll make dinner. When the kids are around I watch TV with them and I manage an exercise class once a week.

10pm

At the end of the day, I curl up in bed with a book or a magazine. I have subscriptions to several lifestyle magazines, they help me switch off before another busy day on the farm.

www.roradairy.co.uk 

Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

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