Ben Bank Farm in Dodworth took home two silver awards in the best blue category for their Barnsley Blue and a bronze for best mould whitened with Barnsley Brie. The farm only started trading cheese last Christmas.
Cheese maker Naomi Watts, 45, of Dodworth, is the only cheese maker at the farm, while her husband and his brother milk the cows. She attended a cheese making course in 2011 but says she put her full energy into making it two years ago when the dairy market suffered.
“Milk prices were dropping so low and we wanted to add value to our product,” she said.
With the income from cheese, they were able to continue work to repair the buildings and they all have windows now.
On her own, Naomi makes 600 litres of cheese a week, which results in 200 individual cheeses weighing 300 grams each. Everything is made by hand rather than using a machine because machine churning agitates the cheese and gives it a waxy texture.
She entered the awards for small cheese producers by sending of samples and filling out an application form. There were 522 entries from 119 cheese makers this year.
Ben Bank Farm has been run by the same family for three generations but Naomi said she started putting her full energy into making cheese two years ago. The farm is a dairy producer so all of their cheese is made on-site without needing to buy in milk.
Naomi has entered the Great Yorkshire Show cheese section and has just applied for the Great British Cheese Awards.
Going forward, she hopes to make hard cheeses such as cheddar but needs to keep the business ticking over.
“It takes 18 months for cheddar to mature,” she said. “I wouldn’t be making any money for 18 months.”