Barwheys Dairy

Robert Burns Country | Ayrshire | Scotland | UK

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Barwheys Dairy to Close Spring 2019

It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that after 10 years of operation I am closing Barwheys Dairy.

I set the dairy up in 2009, establishing a new herd of pedigree Ayrshire cows which produce the sweet, creamy milk that the breed is so famous for, building the facility and developing the Barwheys cheese recipe.
We were delighted Barwheys was well received, winning six gold medals in six successive years at the Royal Highland Show - including Best Scottish Cheese and Best Scottish Cheddar in various years - and a gold at the Great Yorkshire Show this year.
But the world of micro-artisan food businesses is a tough one and I realise we are simply too small to resist the increasing pressures that our industry is facing. Like other small businesses we have been subjected to increasing financial pressures in terms of costs, pricing, demand and payments. These make it difficult for a micro-business to be sustainable.
On top of these financial pressures and the usual challenges of farming, our regulator, Food Standards Scotland (FSS), who have a well-publicised aversion to raw milk cheesemaking, are proposing increasingly invasive and onerous inspection and testing regimes. Despite the pronouncements of the Scottish Government on the importance of the Scottish food industry, the attitude of their agent FSS makes us feel that we are being irresponsibly stubborn in wanting to continue making a high-quality, traditional raw milk cheese. This has taken all the joy out of our previously happy enterprise.
So I'm afraid that we have stopped production, the cows are now sold and once our stocks of Barwheys cheese have run down in the Spring there will be no more.
I'd like to thank all the people that have supported us over the last 10 years - my lovely team who are deeply upset at the news, our loyal customers who order the cheese, accept justifiable price rises and pay their bills promptly, my neighbours who have looked after my cows and have helped to grow the herd from the day we bought our first two (Madge and Jen) and my local environmental health officers who have been as supportive, knowledgeable and sensible as they can be given the regime within which they operate.
Thank you also to all our social media friends who have supported us with kind messages  over the years.
I’d like to think that we have contributed in some small way to the artisanal food ecosystem in Scotland – and I’m deeply sorry that it has been for such a short period of time.