Interesting day Carol and I joined Ernie Durose on a tour of 3 Cheese Dairies in the West Midlands,
Fowlers of Earlswood, near Solihull ,Warks, The Fowlers have been making Cheese for 14 generations and Adrian Fowler who showed us around was a really excellent guide to the history of cheeses and is still prepared to try and develop new cheeses, The Cheese operation is on a dairy farm which they rent to those trying to get a start in dairying. The previous tenants had 200 Holstein x Jerseys and produced a million litres of milk which the Fowlers processed into 108 tonnes of Cheese. Some of the vintage Cheddar is matured for 2 years.
The new tenant is due to start shortly with a Herd of 40 Dairy Shorthorns and 14 Guernseys.
Simon Weaver near Moreton in the Marsh ,Glos had the most modern set up with 4 x 500 litre tipping vats for Soft Cheese, a 1000 litre vat for hard cheese and a Mozzarella process machine. The emphasis here was on quick turnover.
Monksland Cheese near Monkland ,Leominster Hereford. This business had at one time included three specialist Cheese shops in the market towns of Hereford, Leominster and Ludlow with Cheese made at Monksland, The Cheese shops have been sold recently ,but still sell the range of Cheeses made at Monksland , where there is also a Shop and a Tearoom. The owner/cheesemaker Karen also has regular tours of the dairy and is a very enthusiastic promoter of cheese.
The final visit was to the Ludlow Food Centre, where produce from the local estate is processed in rooms which adjoin the shop, and the artisans can be seen at work , in the Dairy ,making Cheese,Yoghurt and Butter, or the Butchery where Beef ,Lamb and Pork products are prepared, or the Kitchen and Bakery. The Farm Shop has recently been judged to be the best in England.
Jaap de Jong of Jongia (UK) Ltd had organised the visits and imports Cheese Making equipment from Europe, He was telling us how in Germany there are vans equipped to make cheese which travel from Farm to Farm making Cheese which the farmer then concentrates on selling rather than having to milk his cows.make cheese, and sell the cheese. This could be a route for some of our Guernsey herd owners to look into.