Caws Meifod

Caws Meifod

Prynhawn da pawb! Good afternoon everyone!

I'm sure I'm not the only one who wishes time could stand still for a few extra days every week - as farmers it seems every day is overwhelmed with the regular routine work let alone time to get onto the extras - repair the leaky water tank, install that new bit of kit, plan out the next crop rotation, FILL IN THE CHEESE PAPER WORK.... sadly in this reality it means progress comes painfully slowly - but as they say, even slow progress is still progress, and eventually those early mornings and late nights start to add up.

On that note I'd like to share a cheese update with you all. We've recently completed another batch of cheese in our microdairy, and being our 5th batch we're starting to get the consistency and control we need as a food producer. We're still in the midst of a steep learning curve when it comes to achieving an even taste and texture for our cheese batches while also maintaining and documenting every detail to meet stringent food producer regulations. Put simply, everything must be measured and monitored from the smallest gram of cultures, milk butterfats, proteins, rennet all the way to checking the constant change of Ph to ensure the timings of each stage are at their optimum. A lot of mistakes have been made over the last few months but with them solutions for improving for next time 'look out for the next batch!' is our broken record quote for some time now!

Weight and timings are essential from start to finish of cheese making but it doesn't stop there! Once we have the cheese in the moulds we then have to ensure the cheese caves ambient environment will achieve and maintain 12 degrees and 90% relative humidity to engage in optimum aging conditions - where mould will grow! (the good tasty mould not bad mould). Our cheese cave is fitted with automated heaters and humidifiers as well as an alarm system to alert us of any tolerance deviations - another lesson learned the hard way!

We now have a fridge full of Brie (Lucky us!) with the paper work filled out outlining what tests need doing and when, this is generated following a long and tedious HACCP (anyone familiar with these will feel our pain) indicating which hygiene hazards must be checked to prove our cheese manufacturing processes achieve the correct standards. Samples have now been delivered to a laboratory in Llangefni where we'll either be given the good news in a couple of weeks or it will be adjusting our procedures and 'look out for the next batch!' ringing aloud through Newbridge once again. 

Although its taken a huge amount of energy for our family to bring the cheese this far - it really is pleasure to see what can be done with a staple food such as Milk and the flexibility and opportunity it has to offer. It's an even greater pleasure seeing our herd grazing around the farm and putting together all these complex processes and getting an amazing product at the end of the sequence. We're so excited to bring this to the area - but for now 'look out for the next batch!'.