Cheese Making, the Changing Times
Someone asked me recently how we as a family have managed to maintain our distinctive cheddar flavour whilst the personalities involved have changed and of course the volume of cheese being made has grown over the years. There are several ways in which we’ve preserved the integrity of what we do, and being a family has certainly helped. This is because each new generation of Clothiers are introduced to the art of cheesemaking at quite an early age and therefore naturally maintain the ability to perpetuate the ancient skills which are handed down. Obviously it becomes a little harder when larger quantities are made with the addition of some mechanisation of the process. But an eye for detail and a passion to perfect are also attributes that we pass on from one generation to the next!
Mechanisation of the process became necessary as the work got too hard for the operators to manage as volumes increased and extended hours and longer days were required. When my mother made her first cheeses in Wyke Champflower the amounts were much smaller and working days much shorter than is required nowadays. Obviously as the volumes increased, great skill was required to maintain the character and flavour of the finished product, and this is where the skills of our most experienced cheesemakers are vital and make the difference between excellence and mundane.
This is where most of our larger competitors have difficulty as they do not have the repetition and consistency of family skills in their businesses to maintain the character and heritage of the ancient arts. Something which is very pleasing for me in particular is when some eminent cheesemaking professionals when shown several apparently similar samples of Cheddar can pick a Wyke Farms made cheese for it’s distinctive flavour, texture and natural character. This maybe the reason why we have managed to win so many prizes over the years and this has been a massive complement to our consistency of quality manufacture. Through the maintenance of my mother’s age old recipe, I have no doubt that we will endeavour to carry the skills of Cheddar making through several more generations!