Welcome to the Inside Yorkshire Podcast, a podcast full of stories and tales from the people of Yorkshire. On today’s episode, Susan talks to Andy Swinscoe about his passion for making cheese and doing it in a way that supports local, sustainable farming. He talks about the awards that The Courtyard Dairy has won and says that they’ve won the awards because he loves cheese so much and gets it from farmers who love it just as much as he does.
- Andy and his wife Kathy run The Courtyard Dairy. Andy has a long history working in the cheese industry.
- He gained a lot of knowledge and experience working with cheese in France but was very interested in coming back home and tapping into the local potential for cheesemaking.
- He and his wife then started the business from scratch as a two-person business for two years. They championed small producers and rural farms.
- Even in the early days, The Courtyard Dairy began winning awards.
- Within their first year, Andy won Cheesemonger of the Year in the World Cheese Awards. This gained them a lot of national press and helped grow the business.
- This past year, they won the Countryside Alliance Rural Oscars, which is awarded to businesses that support rural enterprise and rural communities.
- They’ve also won the British Cheese Awards, the Farm, Shop, and Deli Awards, and been listed as one of the best cheese shops in not just the UK, but the world.
- Andy views the cheese business as a way to support small, sustainable family farms and keep the rural economy going.
- Andy says the product is good and wins awards because it’s made on such a small scale with care and attention to detail.
- Proper farmhouse cheese is an expression of where it’s made.
- But it can be hard when the farmers have to deal with a low yield season.
- Andy says their ethos is always going to be farmhouse and traditional first.
- Along with the cheese shop, The Courtyard Dairy also has a cheese museum.
- Andy thinks it’s important not to let people get too far divorced from where their food comes from and wants to show people the local history of cheese and cheese-making, how it’s made today, and the differences between industrial cheese and farmhouse cheese.
- “In those days, in fine dining, if you ordered a cheeseboard, you’d have cheddar and Stilton from England and everything else was French.”
- “The initial shop was the size of most people’s kitchens.”
- “What I like doing is I like selling cheese. I love championing small farmhouse cheesemakers, and that’s why we win awards.”
- “It’s not just about the cheese for me, it’s about jobs and rural economy.”
- “My opinion is that people are so disconnected from their produce and where things are from and how the product is made and we want to not just sell cheese but actually to tell the story of the history of cheese in this area.”
About the Host:
Susan has been living in Yorkshire for over 30 years. She is passionate about the county she has adopted as her home and she never ceases to be amazed at the wealth of talent ‘Inside Yorkshire’ and the tales that people have to tell.
About the Guest:
The Courtyard Dairy is a unique, specialist cheese-shop and cheese-maturer, owned and operated by Andy and Kathy Swinscoe. In 2017, the shop expanded into new premises, and at the same time, a museum telling the history and story of farmhouse cheese, a café serving cheese-based dishes (and, of course, coffee!), and a cheese production room were added, alongside plenty of free on-site parking. The shop itself has become a renowned destination shop, where regulars and visitors alike enjoy the opportunity to sample and purchase some of the finest cheese to be found in Europe, whilst benefiting from Andy and Kathy’s comprehensive and entertaining cheese knowledge.
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