The Last Week at Ribblesdale Cheese

Yet another January week gone by in a blur.  I have a theory that January days go faster than other days in the

A gratuitous picture of Penny Pig (left) and Snouter crammed into Snouter's bed

A gratuitous picture of Penny Pig (left) and Snouter (right) shoe horned into Snouter’s bed

rest of the year.  Mondays are always busy for both of us.  Last Monday, Stu made a small vat of Wensleydale which was timely as we had run out.  Whilst tending the vat, the pair of us put the press load of Original Goat cheese into vac packs and I took them into the wholesale area and vac packed and weighed them.

I always weigh each make to establish firstly the average weight, to ensure that they are the right sort of size (and we are not getting carried away at potting up time – sometimes when they are a little on the …er…chunky side, they don’t fit in their boxes!) and secondly the yield.  If the yield is out of kilter, this could point to an issue with the make or the milk, something we need to know so we can investigate.  It is also useful to know how the yield varies according to the season.

Also on the agenda every Monday is decanting goat curd into 500g plastic pots for a customer collection on Tuesday.  Last Tuesday was not a mad waxing day which felt very liberating.  We are quiet and we did not need to replenish the shelves, so we thought we would give ourselves a break from waxing.  Stu pottered in the dairy whilst I researched buying more goat curd pots, only I would like to replace them with clear plastic.  I contacted a large number of pot makers, only to be told by the majority that I would need to speak to their rep who would contact me.  To date, we have been contacted by one rep who very kindly sent a couple of samples, which we tried out today, so I will be placing an order.  Tuesday was restocking day: I ordered more advice note books, new weight ticket labels, more sellotape and pallet wrap, starter culture – all very exciting stuff.

One very clean dairy

One very clean dairy

Wednesday and Thursday were dairy days for Stu and Andrew making 1,900 litres of Superior Goat Gouda, 300 litres of Goat Curd and 1,600 litres of Original Goat.

On Wednesday, after the dairy had been put to bed and Stu and Andrew had left for the day, I had a visitor, Richard Clarke, the production director for WDP who came for a brew and a chat and to see if they could use our dairy to make another batch of unpasteurised Wensleydale.  It was nice to see Richard, always good to catch up with cheesey friends.

On Thursday, I went to see a cheesey friend, Simon Lacey who makes cheese up at The Station in Richmond and had a good catch up.  Simon has been making cheese at The Station in Richmond for six years now.  Doesn’t time fly!

And on Friday, first thing, Stu and I took care of Wednesday’s Superior Goat Gouda make and whilst I vac packed and weighed it, Stu cleaned down the dairy.  Then we salted and packed that week’s goat curd.

Whilst Stu spent the rest of the day in the dairy, I had the pleasure of Andrew and Sally’s company for the rest of the afternoon – our first paid consulting gig!  Andrew farms, though I have to say he is the first farmer I have met with a PhD!  His wife, Sally, is a special needs dentist and together they are thinking of possibly entering the cheese making arena, not now, but maybe in a few year’s time and wanted to fact find to determine whether this could be a viable proposition.  I think we all agreed that it could a viable business as they have their own cows and the idea fits with their current priorities and lifestyle; we did some sums and talked through a wide range of issues and requirements.  It was a great way to end the week, talking cheese with an interesting couple.

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