After what seems like a long hiatus, things have started to move forwards.
Quite a lot has happened since our last post.
- We learned that LEADER has ceased to approve new applicants, just as we had submitted ours. This means we will not be getting any grant funding to help setup our business and caused a slight change of plans which, if we are honest, has resulted in a more focussed and efficient business plan.
- Sam has completed a Professional Cheesemaking course run by renowned cheesemaking consultant Ivan Larcher and held at The School of Artisan Food on the impressive Welbeck Estate, Nottinghamshire. This has not only helped refine our cheesemaking technique and recipe, but has also allowed us to start developing our HACCP plan (essentially a health and safety protocol which is required in food production). Sam will also be participating in a Natural Cheesemaking Course being run by David Asher at The Courtyard Dairy as a one off event. David focusses on traditional and natural self-propagated starter cultures as a way to acidify milk, rather than relying on laboratory-made commercial starter culture (think of it a bit like sourdough bread compared to using bought-in yeast).
- We have joined the Specialist Cheesemakers Association, and applied to become a member of their Primary Authority. This gives us tonnes of useful resources and specialist advice on cheesemaking and HACCP procedures.
- We have experimented with a few trial batches of cheese (some better than others) and have decided on two recipes we will be focussing on initially. See the upcoming post for photos and details of each batch! Combined with the developments above, this has put us in a position to be ready to approach Craven District Council and apply to become an Approved Premises for cheese production.
- Rachael has been working on a local dairy farm with Pete Webster at Lawkland Hall Farm to build experience. This has fortuitously led to some great developments and opportunities which will be the topic of our next post.
All of this means we are a few steps closer to starting the business, and we’re about to take the plunge and have the building work commence. Fingers crossed!