Richard Clothier – Wyke Farms, Red Tractor Cheese-Maker
The art of traditional cheese making will never be lost on the Somerset farm where the Clothier family have been making Cheddar in Somerset since 1861. Today, Wyke Farms is one of the largest independent cheese makers and milk processors in the UK producing over 13,000 tonnes of Cheddar per year to the same award winning 150-year-old secret recipe.
A few things have changed since Richard Clothier’s grandmother Ivy made her first truckle of Cheddar all those years ago, but one thing will always remain the same – the family’s craftsmanship and genuine passion for creating a delicious Cheddar everyone can enjoy, and their red tractor assurance status is another credential which adds to their unique brand story.
Wyke Farms Cheddar is still aged in wooden maturing boxes and constantly monitored by their Master Cheese Grader, to ensure a delicious taste and guaranteed quality. “It’s this commitment that’s helped us win more awards than any other Farmhouse Cheddar brand. Something we’re very proud of. And we know Ivy would be too.” Richard explains.
Nestled deep within the Mendip Hills, Wyke Farms, is one of a small handful of larger cheese producers who have the full ‘farm to fork’ story and are able to use the Red Tractor logo on the front of their customer-facing products.
The family own four farms, all of which are based within a three mile radius of the cheese-making Dairy and house around 1500 milking cows plus followers between them.
To fuel such a large cheese-making operation the Clothiers also take milk from 100 dairy farms, most of which are within a 50 mile radius: “Red Tractor Assurance standards make sure that our farmers are competent enough to look after their animals, understand their needs and that the animal’s health and welfare is regularly checked” says Richard.
“We respect the land, we respect the animals and we respect the environment. The natural way is the only way to make great Cheddar. If you look after nature; then nature will look after you.”
“Here at Wyke Farms, we are constantly finding new ways to create a truly symbiotic relationship with the countryside that provides our food, our income and our home.”
Not only do Wyke Farms demonstrate full traceability of products, from farm to pack by being Red Tractor Assured, they are also committed to sustainable farming and were proud to be the UK’s first national Cheddar brand to become 100% self-sufficient in green energy in 2013.
Through their 100% Green Initiative the company sources all of its electricity and gas from both solar and biogas, generated from its farm and dairy waste. They also work with local food producers such as cider farms to take in local waste which would otherwise be of no value. Richard has also ensured that other parts of his business are as environmentally friendly as they can be – with the company re-using up to 90% of water, ensuring that packaging waste is minimised and that employees drive electric cars which run from power generated on the farm. The above means Wyke Farms save over 20 million kilos of carbon dioxide per annum.
More information about Wyke Farms can be found at: www.wykefarms.com