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Milk: Pursuit of Flavour

We have spent a great many years testing, trialling and tweaking to create the best ingredients for our unique milk recipe.

Back in the ‘50s and ‘60s our herd would have been made up of high-yielding Holstein cows — famous for providing lots of milk. But nowadays the focus is definitely on quality, not quantity.

Milk is such a complex thing and it can go down thousands of different pathways, depending on countless factors. The complexity of the soil, breeding, the grass. We manage the herd carefully, never pushing them above their breeding limits and ensuring they enjoy a long and happy life in our fields. Newly born calves often arrive out in the fields — and all of them are out in fresh paddocks within a month.

“I’ve got this picture in my mind of the flavour I’m after, and I’m forever pursuing it.”

With a vast swathe of land, including luscious rich Devon pasture, it makes sense for us to make use of what is right on our doorstep. With a focus on grass grazing and allowing our animals to spend the maximum time outside, or ‘outwintering’, finding a suitably hardy breed that gives us the right yield and protein percentage has been a complex puzzle. So complex that in fact, we don’t exclusively produce one specific breed. Our herd is made up of a variety of traditional dairy stock; each breed has been specifically chosen to create the ultimate hybrid — the Quicke’s cow.

The Quicke’s Cow:

10% Montbeliarde
33% Scandinavian Red
2% Brown Swiss
33% Kiwi Holstein
9% Friesian
10% Kiwi Friesian
3% Jersey

We’re trying to produce milk with a particular flavour, but there’s so much more involved in finding the best cheese that’s sitting within it. The starters, the make, and what’s happening on its rind. It’s why we are constantly taste testing — to work out how long we should age each cheese. When is it going to be at its best?

It’s a bit like Michelangelo looking at a block of marble: there’s a statue in there, and we’ve got to find it.

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