Tales from Smith Hall

Tales from Smith Hall

Mary from the Dairy

Life on the FarmPosted by Mary Sun, October 29, 2017 10:19:27
This summer became busy, not in an expected with the usual stream of markets, pork pie making and deliveries and naughty piglets, but because the lady of the house has bought a dairy. After 10 years of selling other people`s cheese at a farmers market, I am now making and selling my own! When I say making, this is meant in the loosest sense, as fortunately the dairy came with one experienced cheese maker and one very knowledgeable assistant. Since June, I have progressed from cleaning floors and making tea to milling and salting curds and filling muslin lined forms. Next week I shall be greasing rows of maturing cheese (it keeps the moisture in, should you ask), and piercing, to allow the blue veining to develop.

There is a magic about how cheese is made, from the arrival of the tanker which pumps in the cool swishing milk into our holding tank, to the pasteuriser starting up, and the milk transferring up to another tank where the milk is stirred, cultures added, and sometimes annatto, which gives a warm russet tinge. When the curds are dropped into the curd tray, whey is run off, and curds are stacked, milled , formed and pressed. It isn`t really as simple as that, but that will give you the general idea. Five weeks later we have a perfect cheese! The two maturing rooms are full of rows of cheese that we have made for Christmas,when everyone will get a much deserved rest. Me and the lads have been working long hours to keep you, dear reader, in cheese!

Meanwhile on the farm, life continues. The weather has been wet, although a dry day today, and there are lakes and pools where none have been seen before. As it is autumn and the season for laying down fat reserves, one of our big sows took her litter into the wood next door, where there are tasty crab apples and acorns- pig heaven, except the wood does not belong to us. So a task for today is checking fencing for gaps that must be repaired. In the meantime, himself is carting back bales of silage from the top field.

The explanation behind the title is that I go to a monthly farmers market near Nottingham, where the fish man sings the old Max Miller number to me`I`m in love with Mary from the dairy`. And now I really am!