Country mouse on the joys of cheesemaking

Our new dairy is nearing completion. Our little cheese business, which began on our kitchen table with buckets lined up on the floor to catch the dripping whey, has grown to the extent that it has outgrown its second home, too.

Soon, my wife’s Tunworth cheese will have a new home of dashing white walls and shiny pipes, with a complete maze of drying rooms and packaging outlets. It’s been a huge job for my wife to keep up with the demand for Tunworth from Waitrose, Neal’s Yard and the rest, but there is a real pleasure in employing local people and making a handmade cheese.

Everyone, including me, has been involved in the final push for completion, and I’ve been delegated to pick up the milk at weekends-which is the best job of all. Bumping down the farm track in Snowy, our rather off-white Defender, dragging the tanker and startling the deer and rabbits as the first long rays of the sun streak across the fields is compensation for the early start, but it’s the cows themselves that are the real joys as they mooch through their morning milking in their relaxed but orderly fashion. They are among the gentlest of all the world’s creatures.

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