Two weeks ago, on Monday, we made a vat of Tasty Yorkshire, on Tuesday we had our usual mad waxing day to stock up the shelves for the coming week. On Wednesday, we made a full vat of Superior Goat Gouda and on Thursday we made a full vat of Original Goat. On Friday, we vac packed the gouda and matured some cheese.
Also on Friday I had a funny inquiry from a lady who is representing a pizza making business who has a contract with Booths supermarket. She was interested in our goat cheese. We discussed prices, potential quantities, availability and so on and then in a very worried tone of voice said that they were a halal site. I was somewhat bemused when she then went on to ask in a very concerned way, ‘but what about Penny and Snouter?’ I roared with laughter and explained that they were my pet pigs and lived at home which is 14 miles away and are in no way connected with our cheese making business. I have not heard back from Anneka. Oh dear.
We had a really interesting visitor, Debbie, from Australia who is a cheese maker from down under (isn’t there a song about cheese makers from down under?) and also teaches cheese making classes. She helped Stu and Andrew make the gouda and we had a good old chat about the technical side of cheese making. Debbie has also visited White Lake dairy and worked with them for a little while and I arranged for her to meet our friend Kristen, an American living in London and making cheese in Peckham on her way back to Heathrow to fly back home.
As a parting gift, Debbie gave me some cheese making recipes which look rather interesting. I would like to give a couple a go in the new year when we are
quiet, if we have milk.
This week, we made two chutneys on Monday: our Granny’s Apple and Caramelised Carrot after having taken the Original Goat out of the press, vac packed, weighed them and cleaned down the dairy. The pear has to wait. I received news from our contact Rosie, at York University who helped us obtain a grant to have our cheeses tested for nutritional value and chemical composition. I received the report. This is a brilliant piece of work and I am very pleased with this being done and the results are interesting. It also means that we can pass this information on to customers.
On Sunday night, I thought we may have a snow book winner as it snowed hard and heavy between about 10pm and midnight at my place and settled as I hastily moved my car. But in the morning it was raining, not even a frost, though there was a lot of slush on the tops on my journey to work.
On Tuesday we had a mad waxing day and got a fair bit done. Also on Tuesday, Stu bought in (half!) a cake baked by is dad, Mike: coffee without walnuts and it was very tasty, yum, yum, thank you Mike! Our first batch of goat curd to Bettys went out, thank goodness, though it was an incredibly time consuming and fiddly job. It was vac packed in 250g bags, dipped to shrink, then labelled up and batch coded.
On Wednesday, Stu and Andrew made a vat of Superior Goat and though we were shorted on our milk, down by 1,000 litres, we made around 150 kgs of goat gouda. I have started to make calculations and plan for the possibility of having little goat milk in Jan and Feb. It will be touch and go…..I did up the orders for most of Wednesday as we had a fair bit go out on Thursday. Andrew’s car died on Wednesday whilst driving to work, making him late which we ribbed him about until he explained what had happened. After cheese making, Stu took him to retrieve it about 6 miles out of Hawes and he was able to limp back after having used jump leads on it, but as soon as he turned the ignition off, it died again. I took him home, well, to his girlfriend’s parent’s farm, some 30 miles from Hawes. It was a worthwhile trip on three counts: firstly, it got Andrew back and he can use his girlfriend Cath’s car, secondly, I got a bale of hay for the piglets and thirdly, my hand was licked by a baby calf – and let me tell you: if you have not been licked by and stroked a baby cow, then you have not lived. I met Cath’s parents and her dad revealed
(whilst we were standing in their milking parlour – what beautiful cows!) that he used to buy goat milk from my uncle for his orphan lambs and that my uncle had gave him a (very noisy) male and female peacock, both of which came to a sticky end. What a small world!
On Thursday, we made a vat of Original Goat and today, Friday, we had our friend Mike who is a builder, all harnessed up complete with hard hat (not!) change some of the strip lights that had gone out and cleaned out the diffusers. Neither Stu nor I are capable of going up scaffolding.
The place looks so different and bright, it is hard to believe that we did not notice. Stu lagged the external whey pipes with really expensive reclaimed lagging and has done a super job. (He found it is a skip opposite us at 5.30am one day a few weeks back. If it had not been for the old piano on top of the skip, we could have pinched some more, but c’est la vie!) I submitted the VAT return and prepared two week’s of lab samples for the lab. Must remember to call them on Monday for a pick up. We are really lucky with our new lab because they visit our friends up the road on a daily basis so that can nip down to us without taking too much time out of their day.
The best news of the week is that Booths would like to stock two more of our cheeses: Matured Natural Rinded Goat cheese, the one that won three gold stars at the Great taste Awards 2013 and our unpasteurised Wensleydale, which I am very pleased about because it really is a nice cheese and we have few takers for it. We have to get through the technical hoops yet, but it is looking positive.
On a personal note, the builders have almost finished though they cannot get to two rooms, there are just bits and bobs left. I received a phone call about 5.30pm yesterday telling me not to go home for a few more hours as they had sealed the sitting room floor. I long for the time when I can go home to my home knowing it is exactly as I left it and start to clean and tidy. It is getting cold for Penny Pig and Snouter who seem to spend all day semi-hibernated under straw, emerging only for food and piddling type activities: -2 oC this morning at my place and +0.5 oC here in Hawes but it hasn’t yet snowed and settled.
And that was about it – how was yours?