Mike Allwood

29 March 2002

Mike Allwood

Mike Allwood is owner-

occupier of 82ha (200-

acres) near Nantwich,

Cheshire. The 175-cow

dairy herd block calves

during May and June.

Besides converting to

organic production, he is

also planning to produce

unpasteurised cheese

SPRING arrived on Mar 16 when I was selling cheese at Liverpool Farmers Market. The sun came out and awarm wind dried the streetsand pavements.

By Sunday, the silage fields had dried up enough for us to start muck spreading. I am sure somebody will tell me that this is far too late and we risk high nitrates in silage, but since we went organic such problems seem to have disappeared – says he, touching lots of wood.

All the fields are green, but grass growth has only just started and clover definitely needs some warmth. Our priority now is to get cows out as soon as possible. As with every spring, we have a seemingly endless list of jobs to do. We will rush round, do it all, then decide some things would have been better left another week.

Murphys Law dictates that whenever we are really busy on the farm, we are also busy with the cheese and this week is no exception.

Sandy has been lucky enough to win one of Country Living magazines enterprising rural women awards. The prize includes a stand at the Country Living Spring Fair in London which takes place this week from Wednesday until Sunday.

Consequently, we are rushing around like scalded cats trying to get everything ready on time. Just to make things more interesting, our car died on the way home from the farmers market on Saturday and I had to be ignominiously carried home by a recovery truck.

I love doing markets and shows. Customers really like to meet the people who make stuff and it is stimulating and informative for us to meet them. We have a range of soft cheeses from mild to strong and smelly and there is no telling what will sell best at any particular event. Therefore, we have to prepare enough of everything and hope we get quantities right.

It is fun guessing what individuals will like. Some, usually men, go for the most powerful – I call it the vindaloo factor. The ladies tend to prefer something more subtle. Best of all are the ones who make their mind up quickly and buy a lot. &#42

The best customers for Mike Allwoods cheese at markets and shows are those who make up their mind quickly and buy a lot.

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