When did you decide it had to be cheese (as a career)?
We have miked cows since 1950 and twenty years ago the writing was on the wall for small farmers trying to make a living, so we decided to do something different.
We started playing around with cheese and it just got bigger and bigger! I’m a farmer by trade, who happens to make cheese. I personally don’t make it anymore – I have a team in place for that – but I could if I had to. We also grow organic vegetables on site.
Tell us about your cows
We have approximately 170 cows and they’re milked twice a day. Fifty per cent of our milk goes through our cheese making process and the other fifty goes to make Watson’s brand of bottled milk in supermarkets. Our cows are all pedigree and their family lines can be traced back, in some cases, sixty years.
What other New Forest foods do you like to eat (apart from cheese, obviously!)
The New Forest smoked trout is my absolute favourite. The fish pate is particularly good. I’m also a big fan of Hoxton Bakehouse and Bakehouse 24’s sourdough bread too.
Lyburn Gold or Stoney Cross?
Stoney Cross is my favourite – it has more character and also wins lots of awards.
One of our biggest customers for this cheese is P&O so it’s nice to know that Stoney Cross floats all around the world!
What subjects will you cover in your event at the Drift Inn?
I will tell people about our farm and how it all began. I’ll talk about how our cheese is made and maturation process. I’ll also bring some samples of our organic veg along from Lyburn Organic Vegetables – we grow all sorts; lettuce, broad beans, French beans, runner beans, sugar snap peas, courgettes, sweet corn, pumpkin and squash.
You never know what sort of questions you’ll get, so I’ll leave plenty of time for that.
What is the most popular cheese you make and sell? Do you know why?
Old Winchester is bar far our biggest player. It’s completely different to anything else that’s made in Britain. Hard and crystalline. Lots of chefs use it instead of a parmesan and it ticks the vegetarian box too!
For more information, visit our Cheese & The Forest Larder theme page.
Or sign up to our e-newsletter.