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