FOUR CUMBRIAN farmers have just launched the county’s first ever range of cheeses.
The Cumberland Dairy, a limited company, has been set-up by Kevin Beaty, Kate Mawson, Chris Johnson and Gary Simpson.
The business is initially aiming to sell just 100kg of cheese a week, equivalent to 1000 litres of milk and generating less than £1000 a year for each farmer.
“You’ve got to take the long term view and we now own a cheese company. Two years ago we didn’t, so that’s got to be progress,” said chairman Mr Beaty.
“Cumbria Rural Futures did some desktop market research into the potential for branded milk products and cheese came out on top.
“We got funding from the Leader+ programme and Distinctly Cumbrian to do some market research and from the initial nine farmers who expressed an interest the group was reduced to four,” added Mr Beaty.
The four farmers already had a 1904 recipe for a Cumbria cheddar cheese that had been unearthed by archivists at Newton Rigg College at Penrith. It requires 10 months to mature.
Other cheeses to be produced are: Blengdale Blue – a creamy blue cheese; Cobble Tasty – a strong Lancashire-type cheese; Keldthwaite Gold – a brie made from Jersey milk and Roegill Red – a hard cheese with a nutty flavour.
Mr Beaty admits that marketing was the hardest part of the project: “We’re initially targeting hotels, restaurants, delicatessens and farm shops through independent distributors.”