Cheesemakers Eye Up A Bigger Slice Of Market
Waterford company sees business growth on back of Brexit
Knockanore Farmhouse Cheese in Waterford was established by Eamonn and Patricia Lonergan in 1987 when cheese wasn’t as popular as it is today.
The west Waterford company produces a variety of hard-pressed mature farmhouse cheeses, including red and white cheddars, as well as the famous Oakwood smoked cheddar.
“The first five to 10 years of my cheesemaking career was very much a learning process — finding markets, development, taste and so on.”
Looking back now on those early years, Eamonn is acutely aware of the changes around standards and markets for Irish produce.
“Back in 1987 accountability and traceability wasn’t as much to the fore as it is nowadays and today we have a AA standard and British Retail Creditation (BRC); so in the 34 years we have come a long, long way.”
Knockanore Farmhouse Cheese employs 10 people at its Waterford base with a variety of cheeses to suit all tastes.
“We started out producing a farmhouse cheddar that was made from raw milk and the reason for that was because there was longevity in cheddar,” he says.
“If you make a good cheddar cheese you basically have the bones of two years to sell it.
“There was a huge window of opportunity for developing the flavour we wanted and the particular time within which we wanted to sell the product.
“Now we are producing a cheddar in partnership with Sheridan’s Cheesemongers called 15 Fields.
That is made here in Knockanore, partially matured in Knockanore and it’s cut then at about a year, year and a half and is sold as an extra, extra mature-grinded farmhouse cheese made from raw milk.”