Wednesday 8th May 2013
During the late 1970’s a few enterprising dairy farmers commenced making farmhouse cheese. For at least a quarter of a century before this cheese-making in Ireland had been exclusively confined to large scale factory production mainly concentrating on cheddar production and mainly owned by the dairy cooperatives. One exception to this was a small scale production operated by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mosy at Lough Glynn in Co. Roscommon. However, even they had ceased producing cheese by the late 1970’s, by 1983 there was a small number of farmers successfully producing a range of cheeses between them. The National Dairy Council which has responsibility for promotion of dairy produce in Ireland realised the potential of Farmhouse cheese production and facilitated the forming of the Irish Farmhouse Cheese-makers Association in 1983 and helped its development in the earlier years. Among those initial founding members were the following all of whom continue to produce cheese to this day:
- The Steele family who produce Milleens.
- The Willems family who produce Coolea.
- Jeffa Gill who produces Durrus.
- The Berridge family who produce Carrigbyrne.
- The Ferguson family who produce Gubbeen.
- The Brodie family who produce Boilie.
- The Maher family who produce Cooleeney.
- Bill Hogan and Sean Ferry who produce Gabriel and Desmond.
Cheeses & other founding members have either subsequently ceased production or sold on their businesses.
Combining creativity and innovation with respect for traditional craft simplicity, Irish cheesemakers are at the forefront of a new and diverse culture. Their cheese offers the complex world of international retailing and foodservice a simple product which appeals to today’s consumer. Traceability of Irish farmhouse cheese extends not just to a region, but family, to a small valley, even to the slopes of a mountain. Irish farmhouse cheese gives you an opportunity to offer a food to your customers which encapsulates the essence of the brand that is Ireland her lifestyle and her pleasant environment. Give your customers a taste of the salty winds of the atlantic, the soft rain on mountain slopes, the lush grasses of the hills and valleys, the delicate wild herbs growing in rocky fields, the wild and the gentle Ireland.