Leicestershire Handmade Cheese Co
Producer: Leicestershire Handmade Cheese Co, Warwickshire
Product: Sparkenhoe red leicester cheese
Region: East and West Midlands
Category: From the dairy, artisan
What they do:
David and Jo Clarke started making traditional Leicestershire cheese on their dairy farm in Upton, South West Leicestershire in 2005.
The Leicestershire Handmade Cheese Co’s Sparkenhoe is made to a traditional local recipe, using unpasteurised milk from their own herd of 150 Holstein Friesian cows. The yellow colour comes from the addition of annatto, a natural plant dye. The cloth-bound cheeses are matured for six months on beech shelves before sale. It is the only raw milk, farmhouse cheese made in Leicestershire.
The family has farmed the area for over three generations and under the guidance of David and Jo, Sparkenhoe Farm’s dairy production has become as carbon neutral as possible. Much of the energy involved in the production process comes from green energy sources: a biomass boiler generates the heat needed to make the cheese and a large quantity of the electricity used in the converted barn comes from PV solar panels.
Sparkenhoe Farm is known for sponsoring local charity events and being a part of the Farming and Countryside Education scheme (a project that aims to education children and young people about food and farming in a sustainable countryside). They frequently give tours of the farm and lead talks with local schools about the pasture to plate process.
What the judges said:
The judges were impressed by Sparkenhoe Farm’s reliance on green energy, also commending their commitment to raise the profile of sustainable farming methods.
Visit the website:Leicestershire Handmade Cheese Co
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