Meet the Culture Starters - Galloway Cheese
We caught up with Helen and Alan from Galloway Cheese in South-West Scotland, to find out more about their business.
When and why did you start your business?
Back in 1984/85 Alan was travelling around New Zealand when subsidies were removed overnight and to see the devastation caused by this made him want to farm without relying on subsidies. Sheep milking and cheese making were chosen as they fitted into what we like (which is sheep and cheese). We purchased an old milk tank and converted it into a cheese vat. It cost £100 and is still in use today and has made over £1,000,000 worth of cheese!
How was it starting out?
We built up our flock of sheep up to around 300 but then Foot & Mouth struck in 2001, which set us back a bit. However we got going again, and managed to keep all our customers. We took over the farm when my stepfather retired in 2001 but through time our son decided he wanted dairy cows, so we sold the sheep about 6 years ago and bought 90 dairy heifers instead. We still buy the sheeps milk from the man that bought our sheep, but we now have around 130 dairy cows and sell our organic milk to OMSCO. We also use some to make our organic Cairnsmore cow’s cheese.
What has your business journey been like?
We were regulars in the cheese competition at the Royal Highland Show and won many gold, silver, and bronze awards. Once we even won reserve champion with our ewe’s cheese with green peppercorns!
The cheese business has enriched our farming life between our wholesalers and the visitors to our farm shop (From Ewe to You) not to mention all the different cheesemakers and cheesey people that turn up out of the blue!
What does the future hold for you?
Well, we will be co-operating with other cheesemakers to give us a wider range of cheeses and maybe other products like yoghurt and ice-cream, plus maybe even a whey product.
Overall, when you cut through the curd it has been a great journey!
You can buy Galloway Cheese's Cairnsmore Ewe's Cheese here, or try it in our toasties!