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Celebrating 45 years of cheese

We can’t quite believe it. Where has the time gone? We’re proud to say we’ve been crafting award-winning cheese from the ground up here in Devon for 45 years. In this blog, we’re going to be sharing more about why we started making cheese all those years ago and explaining some of the struggles and celebrations as farmers and cheesemakers over the last five decades.

Quicke's Journey into Cheese

In the 1920s before the Milk Marketing Board was set up, Sir John Quicke’s father used to send milk to Exeter only to find that there were no buyers. In the early 1970s, milk prices were falling, and the farm’s milk was going to other cheesemakers. Spurred on by the idea that they were losing out, Sir John and Lady Prue visited other local cheesemakers where they discovered that they were financially stronger, and so it became obvious to them that they better move into cheesemaking too.

Sir John’s work in London meant that it was left to his wife to find a cheesemaker and sell the cheeses. Even way back then they knew they wanted to produce ‘something unique, something akin to chateau-bottled wine instead of a commodity’.

‘something unique, something akin to chateau-bottled wine instead of a commodity’

After spending time doing a journalism PhD in London, 1982 saw Mary work for a year in a Shropshire farmhouse creamery to hone her skills, and returned to Home Farm in 1984 to take over cheesemaking from her mother, Prue. 


Quicke's Cheese Timeline

Cheese room built in 1972 and cheese started being made in 1973
Started making Double Gloucester (now Double Devonshire) from the early seventies
Newton House sold to build cheese store 1979
Started making Oak Smoked Cheddar in 1984
Started making Mature Cheddar in 1985
Started making Extra Mature Cheddar in 1987
Cheese production peaks at 600 tonnes (at a rate of 66% of milk bought in)
Started making Red Leicester (now Devonshire Red) in the early '90s
Started making Vintage in 2001
Started making Goat's Milk Cheese in 2003 - this was a cheese developed by Val Bines
Started making Oak Smoked Goat Milk Cheese in 2008
Started making Elderflower in July 2013 (it was a herb cheese before this)
Started making Buttery in 2014
Started adding Cornish Sea Salt to all cheddars in June 2016 having previously made occasional vats over a three year period
Started making Lady Prue in January 2018 (available at Borough Market, London)

    Quicke's Cheese, 45 years on

    Today, 45 years on from when Sir John and Prue first made cheese, the way we make our crowning jewel hasn't changed. From the land and the Devon soil to the cows and the milk, through to the cheese stores and the grading, we are always striving for greatness at every stage of the cheese's creation.

    Today, it is Mary steering the ship. Working under the family motto that was forged centuries before 'Petit ardua virtus' - 'strength seeks challenges', we are still committed to doing right by our land - by respecting those who have farmed it before us, and preserving it for those who will continue to do so in the future.

    We're lucky enough to have been recognised recently at the British Cheese Awards, World Cheese Awards, International Cheese Awards and Great Taste Awards as well as the Taste of the West and Artisan Cheese Awards, among others. Have a look at the list of our most recent awards here.

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