Kent Celebrates the Launch of the UKs First Ever Carbon Neutral Cheese from Winterdale Cheesemakers.
Celebrities, eco-supporters and lovers of good cheese celebrated the launch of the UKs first ever carbon neutral cheese on Friday 19 April 2013, produced by local company Winterdale Cheesemakers, Wrotham, Kent.
The launch held at Winderdale’s dairy in Wrotham was filmed alongside local broadcast stations, by actor and eco-supporter Robert Llewellyn for a documentary on sustainable organisations and attended by a host of Kent VIPs.
Winterdale’s carbon neutral cheeses, namely Winterdale Shaw and Winterdale Oak Smoked, demonstrate how environmental and suitable farming practices can produce delicious tasting cheeses. Last month, Winterdale Cheesemakers were presented the ‘Kent Food, Farming and Landscape Award’ at the Taste of Kent Awards 2013.
Winterdale Cheesemakers has been producing the two unpasteurised cheddars for the last 6 years at the dairy barn in Wrotham. The award-winning cheeses have been noted for their exceptional flavour and texture. In late 2011 the company started to turn its production process over to carbon neutral sources. Using a ground source heat pump as well as PV solar panels, Winterdale Cheesemakers found they could generate enough energy to not only make their cheese to the same excellent quality standard as a non carbon neutral cheese, but to also power an electric vehicle to deliver the cheese carbon neutrally.
Using a Nissan Leaf, a carbon neutral electric car – powered by the PV solar panel array next to the Winterdale Cheesemakers Dairy – the cheese can be delivered emission free and in the best condition. The car is wrapped in a vinyl image depicting a countryside scene. Charging socket kindly donated by Zero Carbon World. (www.zerocarbonworld.org) Winterdale is part of ZeroNet, the only open, smart-card free charging network for electric cars in the UK.
Winterdale Shaw and Winterdale Oak Smoked cheeses are available widely across Kent, the south east and London, including fine food stores, farm shops, delis, selected John Lewis and Waitrose outlets. In London it is stocked in leading food retailers Fortnum and Mason, and the luxury 5 star establishment, The Goring Hotel. Prices from £1.90 per 100g.
Owner of Winderdale Cheesemakers, Robin Betts, said: “We’ve been working tirelessly towards a greener future for the company and for the people of Kent. Although the processes have not always been easy we believe our cheese demonstrates how you can eat great tasting but sustainable and eco-friendly food – our carbon neutral cheeses are an example of what wonderful produce that Kent has to offer and we think it puts us at the forefront of renewable technologies.
“We always use morning milk from our family farm and start the cheese-making process off while it is still warm as this saves masses of energy. The perfect temperature for cheese-making is 32 degrees, just less than the 37 degree body temperature at which it is collected. We add starter culture, then the rennet and the curd is cut and cooked, the energy required comes from a ground source heat pump which heats the water to 50 degrees and then our solar panels take the temperature up those last few degrees required. The drained curd is placed in cheese moulds and pressed for 3 days before it is wrapped in two layers of cotton muslin and laid to rest in our cave-like cellars, which are cut into the hillside deep enough to ensure that no matter the outside weather the temperature varies only between 10 and 12 degrees; the perfect temperature for the 10 month maturation process.
“Our launch was a real celebration of environmental business initiatives as well as reinforcing Kent on foodie map.”