I have been a little quiet on the blog front, apologies for that, we have been pretty busy.
We have three ‘big’ projects on the go right now. On the advice of our Business Link advisor, (who knows about these things – I don’t really understand branding!) we are working with Lisa at Tractor Creative to help us with a re-branding exercise which will keep the name Ribblesdale Cheese as a brand plus develop two new brands along side and will involve a change of the overall company name that allows us to make and sell a wider range of foods, not just cheese – for example, we have started to make butter.
It was Lisa who developed the five different label designs we asked you to vote on further down in this blog. Penny and Snouter get their own label too…..watch this space!
Expansion of our product range
Our second project is expanding our range of cheeses, which Stu is hard at work doing……
The Little Cheese Shop
And the third big thing….yeeessss! At last…we have opened a tiny little shop on the high street in Hawes. I know I keep saying it, but there are two cheese makers in Hawes! What better way of showing this than having a small presence on the high street in the town where we make our cheese.
Lydia is in charge of the shop and is doing a great job. I do the Sunday shift.
Whilst it is only tiny, about 12ft x 12ft in the front, with a small kitchen at the back, we have managed to cram a lot in. We sell our cheese:
Our Old Tyme Wensleydale, crumbly, golden coloured, creamy and not too acidic, made from local milk . Our best seller in the shop. We make this cheese once a week to s very slow, long, traditional make, which takes almost twice as long as most other wensleydales and it shows in the quality
Original Goat (also stocked in Booths supermarket,) made from local milk from Grewelthorpe in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales – our second best seller and the cheese we make the most of. We sell the milk that we use to make our cheese, which is proving to be very popular. Even I like it, (it is really nice, vaguely sweet and creamy and I have it in my coffee) and I am of the generation that was force fed milk at primary school that had become warm after sitting under a table
Superior Goat (Supreme Champion Yorkshire Show 2008 and available in Guy Ritchie’s pub, the Punchbowl)
Original Sheep (Gold Star Award 2009 at the Great Taste Awards) and used by Michelin star winner Nigel Howarth and Vanilla Black
Unpasteurised goat cheese, very strong, which I still haven’t named (all suggestions welcome!) and is also taken by Wiltons new wine bar in Wendover
Goat Cheddar used by Vanilla Black in their Michelin recommended vegetarian restaurant
Matured Goat, immortalised by Gary Rhodes Ribblessdale Carbonara recipe and a great vegetarian alternative to parmesan
Blue Goat, creamy base cheese with gentle blueing
Organic Goat cheese which is very popular: creamy, a little sweet and nutty
Goat cheese with nettle and garlic – really subtle and surprises a lot of people
Smoked versions of most of the above – as you know, we smoke all of our own cheese over oak chippings from Theakstons brewery
Our Friend’s Award Winning Cheeses
We also sell cheese made by friends of ours, including multi award winning Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire, award winning John & Bob’s baby blue cheeses (my friends John the cheese maker and Bob Kitchin) and some absolutely gorgeous Quickes Double Gloucester and Cheddar – now that is what Double Gloucester and Cheddar really should taste like, forget the supermarket versions! To supplement this, we have some rather lovely traditional Colston Basset Blue Stilton , some Brie and some Parmesan.
We have some great special offers – a 500g chunk (that’s over 1lb of cheese!) of our creamy Wensleydale and a chutney of your choice for £5 and 3 cheeses of your choice (out of five) and some very tasty biscuits and a chutney of your choice for £10.
Getting the shop up and running has not been without its problems; we had a frantic time getting the refrigerated counter in the shop – too big for the door – in the end we had to take the window out of a 17th century building. Not a good experience. Then it looked like the refrigerated counter had ‘died’ so our emergency refrigeration man, Mike, came out to breathe life back in to it…on a Saturday. A big thank you to him!
We have supplemented our cheese with a wide range of cheese boards very smart cheese knives, other cheese
accessories, books on how to make cheese, fabulous postcards and greeting cards of scenes around the Yorkshire Dales by David Tarn, lovely jams, preserves, cheese biscuits and a range of chutneys made specially for us to complement our cheeses.
Cheese Baskets and Hampers
Lydia has also made up some cheese hampers which have proved very successful and make great gifts.
We have plans to diversify a little in our shop, we will let you know what we are up to when we get closer to the time. Exciting times!
It has been months in the planning, and very stressful, but from the comments we have received from our visitors, we believe it has all been extremely worthwhile; we have had the pleasure of meeting and selling our cheese to some lovely and interesting people.