Westcombe Dairy, Somerset
The Clothier family started making cheese on the Westcombe site in 1890. After winning a major prize for the cheese in 1910 expansion continued rapidly - 'lean-to' after 'lean to' was added to the farmhouse! The family owned three farms near by and have continued to use only this milk to this day. This gives them greater control of the quality of the milk, and hence the cheese they produce.
In the early 1990's Richard Calver started to manage the business. He quickly realised that making pasteurised block cheddar on a small scale was not a sustainable strategy. The growth for traditionally made farmhouse cheddar as a low volume high added value product seemed a good way to go - hence Westcombe cheddar and Westcombe Red, which has a shorter maturation period thus helping cash flow, were born. (Remember 'cheddar vision'? It was a Westcombe cheddar that was slowly maturing!)
Tom Calver (son of Richard) runs the dairy which is shared by Duckett's Caerphilly and is increasingly spending time making the cheese. They have exciting plans for 2009/10 to build an underground maturing facility which will give increased humidity and temperature control which will be great for the cheese.