cheese making

It was Open Farm Sunday at the weekend and we were among the Sussex food and drink producers that took part at Cockhaise Farm’s Open Farm event. The farm is less than a mile from the Dairy, as the crow flies, and is where we source our organic cow milk from to make cheeses like Tremains Organic.

The Open Farm Sunday initiative was launched in 2006 by the charity LEAF, Linking Environment and Farming, and is designed to show people first-hand what it means to be a farmer. Hundreds of farms up and down the country open their gates and welcome the public in for this year’s event on Sunday, 10th June. Cockhaise Farm has taken part for a number of years and this year’s event offered visitors the chance to tour the farm and see some of their 240-strong herd, sheep being sheared and to join tractor rides around the farm.

Rees Woodward who won our Sussex food and drink prize at Open Farm Sunday

Sussex food and drink in the spotlight

Other Sussex food and drink producers at the event included Sussex Chefs and Caroline’s Dairy. There were around 900 visitors to Cockhaise Farm on the day – including a camera crew from Meridian TV who interviewed Mark! You might have spotted him on the evening news talking about the importance of giving people an understanding of where their food comes from. In addition to giving people a chance to taste the cheese that we make from Cockhaise milk, we also ran a competition asking people to guess how many litres of milk go in to making a 3.640kg wheel of Tremains Organic cheese. The answer? 34.58 litres! Our lucky winner was Ree Woodward (pictured above with Mark) who won a hamper of cheese.

A great event for a good cause

Entrants to our competition were asked to make a donation to the event’s charity partner, The Bevern Trust. The Trust is a Sussex-based disability charity which supports young adults with profound learning disabilities. Take a look at the Farmers’ Markets and Shows pages to see other events we’ll be selling cheese at this summer.

Do you make your own cheese or would you like to? We are pleased to be sponsoring a cheese-making competition at the Coleman’s Hatch Flower Show in July. The competition is open to amateur cheese makers and will give them the chance to have their cheese tasted and critiqued by the experts. It’s perfect for those who have been on our one-day cheese making course which teaches all the skills needed for people to make their own cheeses at home.

You might have a cheese already maturing that you would like to enter, or you might like the chance to put skills learned on the course to the test as you make a new one. The closing date for entries to the cheese-making competition is Wednesday July 25th ahead of judging which takes place at the show on Saturday July 28th leaving plenty of time for harder cheeses to mature.

Entering the cheese-making competition

Whether it’s your first time making cheese or you consider yourself a bit of an expert, the competition should be a good fun way to compare your wares against other amateur cheese makers, to share your skill and perhaps to win a prize! Cheeses will be judged by High Weald Dairy cheese makers and the best from the five classes will be awarded the Supreme Champion Trophy. See below for the competition rules.

Cheeses can be entered in five classes as follows:

1. Soft Cheese Plain
2. Soft Cheese with additives
3. Hard Cheese
4. Blue Cheese
5. The People’s Favourite

The cheese-making competition is one of a number of competitions that take place at Coleman’s Hatch Flower Show, an annual event which has taken place for decades in the village of Coleman’s Hatch. It’s just a few miles from the High Weald Dairy and within the Ashdown Forest and the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The show is, of course, centred on home-grown flowers and plants with classes for vegetables, fruit and lots more. There are also competitions for children and a range of activities on the day.

Competition Rules

Cheesemakers can enter more than one class and can enter more than one cheese in each class.

Each entry for class 1 – 4 should provide a portion of cheese, no less than 200g.

Entry for Class 5, should be a minimum of 500g as the public will taste and vote on the cheese.

Cost of entry is £ 1.00 for each cheese entered for each class. Please pay be cheque or enquire for BACS details.

Entry forms are available to download from the flower show website downloads page.

Forms must be returned by Wednesday July 25th, 2018 to: SHEPHERDS GATE FARM, Coleman’s Hatch TN7 4HR or by email to

Entries (cheeses) will be received on Saturday July 28th, 2018 by 10 am; which is the day of judging.

Some people thrive on competition, others feel nervous at the thought of being judged but everyone agrees there’s nothing quite like winning. Competition has been a recurring theme at the High Weald Dairy in the last few weeks as our cheeses have recently been judged in the 2018 Artisan Cheese Awards and now the tables have turned and we’ve been asked to act as judges in a local competition too.

We were thrilled to receive a gold, silver and bronze at the recent Artisan Cheese Awards. The event is in its third year and is designed to celebrate the craft and skill of small artisan cheese makers. Judges at the event on Thursday April 26th had the enviable task of tasting their way through more than 500 cheeses including High Weald Dairy’s Brighton Blue, Duddleswell and Little Sussex cheeses.

Artisan Cheese Awards 2018

A great result for High Weald Dairy artisan cheese

Entries had come from more than 115 cheesemakers from across the British Isles so we were up against some tough competition and were pleased to receive a gold award for Brighton Blue, silver for Little Sussex and bronze for Duddleswell.

Mark said: “We are delighted with the results from the Artisan Cheese Awards. The gold award for Brighton Blue is especially welcome news and adds to a growing list of accolades it’s received in the last year. It’s becoming more and more popular with the public as well as judges and we can hardly keep up with demand – but we don’t mind because it’s one of our favourite cheeses to make too!

He added: “Competitions and awards offer a great way to benchmark our cheeses against those that are made by other cheese makers and help keep us on our toes. They help to boost the profile of the Dairy and give us a chance to reach new customers. And if you win something it’s a great feeling and a reflection on the hard work of the whole team.”

Calling all budding cheese makers

We are now looking forward to the British Cheese Awards which take place at the end of May and further ahead to a cheese making competition which we are sponsoring at the Coleman’s Hatch Flower Show in July. The competition is open to amateur cheese makers who like making, or want to try making their own cheese. It’s perfect for those who have been on our one-day cheese making course who already have a cheese maturing or want to use their skills to make a new cheese.  Budding cheese makers can enter cheeses in five categories: Soft Cheese – plain, Soft Cheese – with additives, Hard Cheese, Blue Cheese and “the People’s Favourite”. There will also be a trophy for the “Supreme Champion” – the best of all the cheeses entered. Full details of how to enter are in our Cheese Making Competition post.

High Weald Dairy Little Sussex
High Weald Dairy Duddleswell artisan cheese