Looking to diversify, as farm gate prices for milk fell through the floor, husband and wife team Philip and Carol Stansfield decided to branch out. The most obvious way to go was cheesemaking, and production began on a small scale in 2001. They must be doing something right, they say, because they now export to as far away as the US.
Cornish Blue is a unique cheese, because is produced to be eaten young. Rather than traditional Stilton or Dorset Blue, which are matured, Cornish Blue can be eaten practically straight away.
It is in the style of gorgonzola, and uses the high quality milk which is produced by their herd of 140 Friesian cows. The cheeses are all made by hand, dry salted and then left to mature for between 12 and 14 weeks. The blueing is achieved by pushing stainless steel rods through the young cheeses every week.
The result is a heavenly ripe blue cheese which is strong, but not overwhelmingly so. It has become extremely popular locally, and further afield as its reputation spread. ‘It was difficult at first, because all the delicatessans said they had enough blue cheese, but as we started winning the awards, interest started to grow,’ says Philip.
In 2002 Cornish Blue won the Best New Cheese Award at the Nantwich Cheese Show, and it won bronze and silver at the Taste of the West’s Food and Drink Awards in 2002 and 2003, and things really started to take off.
‘We had decided we wanted to make a blue cheese which was a bit different to anything else made in the UK, and it turned out to be a good choice. People like to have something a little bit different, and so this has turned out to be a real success,’ says Philip.
They are expanding at the moment, because the situation is now such that the demand, as it were, is outstripping supply. The company branched out into making Camembert and Brie for a while, but as it turned out the spores from the blue were making their appearance a little too confusing for potential customers.
‘We have decided just to expand on the Blue, and we have taken on two more staff, and want to open out the cheese room so we can accomodate even more cheeses,’ says Philip.
They currently produce about two tons a week, and this is set to rise. The Cornish Cheese Co. is looking firmly to the future and, thankfully for them, farm gate prices for milk are no longer an issue: all the milk from their ever-growing herd of cattle goes into their unique and delicious cheese.
The Cornish Cheese Co. can be found at Knowle Farm, Upton Cross, Liskeard, Cornwall, and welcomes visitors. Otherwise, you can telephone them on 01579 363 660, or firstname.lastname@example.org.