The History of the Cheesemakers of Canterbury

Previously processing milk, cream and butter, Jane has more than 20 years experience in the dairy trade, retailing as Dargate Dairy, but sold the business in May 2006 to Dairy Crest. Still wanting to be in the dairy trade Jane happened to come upon an advert at around the same time from a cheese making couple in Wiltshire (Pat & David) who were looking to retire. They agreed to train Jane and the small team on the equipment and so the Ashmore recipe and all their cheese making equipment were bought, brought to Kent and the old dairy at Dargate completely refurbished with production beginning in May 2007. 

Jane's idea, already a fan of hard rustic cheeses, was to elevate Kent from a county with excellent milk, cream and butter but limited in locally produced naturally rinded unpasteurised cheeses. “Six months later, after many sleepless nights disappearing into the maturing room at all hours to tend to the cheeses, the first batches of Ashmore Farmhouse were released for sale at the local markets” says Jane.

The cheese making process is very intensive and a team of three cheese makers use traditional methods to make all the cheeses by hand from fresh local British Friesian cow’s milk collected from Debden Farm near Canterbury every morning.

Since then the cheese range has expanded with several award accolades and a prestigious Bronze medal in the 2010 World Cheese Awards. In response to customer demand, The Cheesemakers of Canterbury also developed its own hard goat’s cheese based on the Ashmore recipe and in 2008, Kelly’s Canterbury Goat won a Gold Medal at the British Cheese Awards. Made from local goat’s milk from Ellie’s Dairy in Wychling and the Zeila herd near Margate, this cheese is matured for about three months to produce an extremely creamy and tasty hard goat’s cheese that has proved to be very popular.

12 people are now working with Jane and recent expansion has also seen a new location added to Dargate, at Hastingleigh, which is currently focussing on production of the growing soft cheese range including Kentish Brie, Camembert, Blue and a range of new goat’s cheeses. Look out for all of the cheeses at our own shop in the Goods Shed, Canterbury and at  local stockists.




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Cheesemakers of Canterbury Lamberhurst Farm, Dargate, Faversham, Kent ME13 9ES Phone: 01227 751741