Set up in 1987 by David and Mandy Reed, the Swaledale Cheese Company revived the production of the semi-hard, crumbly cheese, which can trace its history back to the 11th century – when Norman monks started making sheep’s milk cheeses in the Yorkshire Dales.
They have since branched out into making cow's milk and goat's milk cheeses as well however the process has remained unchanged over the years.
During the 20th Century cheesemaking declined in Swaledale and by 1980 there was only one farm producing cheese - Longstaff Farm. When they decided to halt production Marjorie Longstaff passed on the original recipe from the monks onto the Reeds.
The Reeds secured two PDOs for the cheese in 1996, covering cows’ and ewes’ milk versions, however David Reed died suddenly in 2005, while Mandy Reed died in a tragic accident in 2012. It is now run by their children Louise and Sam.
The cheese they produce is a traditional Yorkshire Dales cheese - white in colour, fresh, crumbly, moist, semi-hard with a natural rind. They buy in milk from a local farm whose herd of cows graze on the Swaledale pastures. A particular mixture of herbs and grasses grow in Swaledale due to its soil and climate and these impart a particular characteristic flavour to the cheese.
Their ewe's milk cheese is described as “the freshness of the misty Dales and wild bracken, with the sweet caramel undertone of ewes’ milk”.
Take a look at the Swaledale Cheese Company website to find some recipes using their cheese - find the website here.