This January, the annual influx of #veganuary on social media was replaced by many with #reganuary, a pledge and promotion launched by The Ethical Butcher to support ethical, sustainable and regenerative agriculture. This is instead of simply cutting all dairy and meat products out in the name of personal and environmental health. For The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company, a family-run business set in the heart of Somerset, such a movement provides hope for a better way of creating, producing and consuming in today’s world.
The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company is the only producer of cheddar cheese in its natural birthplace; the village of Cheddar, Somerset. John and Katherine Spencer run their independent, artisan business boasting international awards and accolades. It is thanks to their production values and methods that they have reached nation-wide success and industry praise.
When buying cheese from The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company, a consumer can rest assure that they are supporting a local supply chain and preservation of environment that they can be proud of.
The creation process starts at the local farm run by twin brothers Edward and John who’s farming methods support regenerative agriculture where Terroir plays a vital role. Terroir refers to the natural environmental factors that affect the quality of their cows’ milk such as the local geography, soil, weather – characteristics that affect the quality of pasture, allow the cows to thrive and ultimately, produce compositionally perfect milk with which to produce authentic cheddar cheese.
Using only fresh, local, unpasteurised milk, John and Katherine have made it their mission to preserve the original character of their namesake. This, they believe, is their responsibility and privilege when producing cheddar cheese. It is then in their nearby working dairy, that the handmade, artisanal magic happens by their skilled cheesemakers. From milk reception, addition of starter cultures, cutting, draining to cheddaring and dressing – everything is done by hand; even the delivery of the cheeses to the local Caves, where a selection of their cheeses are matured in the famous natural Cheddar Gorge Caves.
All of this minimises the environmental impact of cheese making.