Have you seen signs about farm cheese but didn’t know what it was? I thought “Doesn’t ALL cheese come from big, gigantic industrial farms?” Nope! Farmer’s cheese comes from small-batch processing on small family farms. I visited Durrus Cheese in West Cork, Ireland with a group of TBEXIreland bloggers and learned about their history and how farm cheese is made.
Durrus cheese was established in the 1970’s by Jeffa Gill, a pioneering mom, when she purchased some land with an old farmhouse attached and decided to homestead it. She learned to make cheese and eventually developed award-winning recipes. Cheese is made after starter is added to the milk and it curdles. The curdled milk (curds and whey) is pumped into containers and hand pressed to remove the liquid. The liquid and bits of whey that escape the container fall into the bottom of the prep table. And here’s another reason Irish food is delicious: Durrus Cheese has partnered with a local pig farm to cart away the left over curds and whey to feed the herd and makes them fatter and richer without the use of chemicals. Bacon……
The cheeses are sold throughout Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia and America. After winning a slew of awards in the 1980’s, she converted her kitchen her home kitchen to increase production.She eventually needed a build-out to meet the demand for her cheese and her daughter, Sarah Hennessy, came on board to help run the business. Today, Jeffa continues to make the cheese while Sarah manages the business and marketing interests. Sarah was kind enough to provide the tour.
Sarah also provided several tastings of the cheeses and they were all delicious! I understood why Durrus Cheese was award winning after enjoying a fourth helping but I didn’t have a way of bringing any home. SAD FACE EMOJI HERE! Special thanks to our driver Charlie from Kerry Coaches who delivered us safely and our fabulous tour historian Jessie McDonald who knows EVERYTHING you always wanted to know about Ireland. Make sure you book a tour with those two when YOU visit Ireland.