Farmhouse cheese is tasty – raw milk, heritage breeds, traditional grasses, pasture feeding, and slow, ancient cheese-making techniques make for unbeatable flavour.
Buying farm-made cheese also has wider benefits:
1. Food security
Many farmhouse cheese-makers follow traditional techniques such as using heritage breeds and feeding them at pasture. Farming their animals traditionally, they naturally use less additional feed, less machinery, less fuel, less fertiliser and fewer pesticides.
2. Environmentally-friendly and sustainable
Traditional farming techniques are less intensive. Using heritage animal breeds and traditional farming methods such as herbal-leys, grass feeding and mob-grazing, has a more carbon-friendly output.
3. Britain’s food culture and social history
Farmhouse cheese-making is part of Britain’s social history. Many of the farmhouse cheese-makers produce in time-honoured fashion that has been handed down through families for generations. Often there is only one producer left.
4. Maintaining the renaissance
The resurgence of British farmhouse cheese is still relatively embryonic – a phenomenon of the last 15 years practiced more often than not by new small cheese-makers and tenant farmers. They are fledgling businesses and need support
5. Farms simply cannot ‘moth-ball’
Production also has to continue; farms can’t simply ‘stop’, feed needs to be grown for winter, animals have to be milked, and the land still needs to be worked. Their cheeses have already been made, matured and are ready to eat now.
6. Support the rural economy
As farm-made cheese is made on the farm, the ‘value is added’ within the rural community. By making cheese on the farm they provide an economic stimulus helping keep rural areas vibrant and providing jobs that otherwise wouldn’t be there.
Support farm-made cheese by championing your local farm-cheesemaker; they are very much not ‘out of the woods’.
Credit: Andy Swinscoe (The Courtyard Dairy)