The story so far…
Coming from a research background, Louis Grubb has always been interested in new opportunities. In the late 1970s he took over the running of Beechmount Farm, then a mixed farm, and soon transformed it into a 100% dairy farm. In the early 1980s, in part driven by his wife Jane, cheese was first produced on the farm, initially a mixed range of non- blues including Fethard, a Cheshire-style hard cheese and a tangy, semi-hard cows’ cheese called Ballingarry. Jane and Louis later experimented making curd cheeses including Quark, set natural yoghurts and even hand churned farmhouse butter.
When Cashel Blue® came on the scene in 1982 and was finally launched in 1984 Jane and Louis quickly realized that there is a lot to managing blue cheese. Quite literally, the mould can take on a life of it’s own. In the early days cheeses were matured in the earthen floor cellar of their farmhouse they were quickly cautioned to get it out from under the house for fear of structural damage!
Following a few years of “bedding down” Louis and Jane got itchy once again and decided they needed to develop a new cheese. Using their blue cheese making expertise, and the drive and enthusiasm brought by a new cheesemaker, Geurt van den Dikkenberg, Crozier Blue was launched in the early 1990s. Made with sheep’s milk, this is still Ireland’s only blue cheese made with ewe’s milk.
Not wanting to be outshone by her parents, since officially joining the Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers team (unofficially, as Louis and Jane’s only child, she has always been a member,) Sarah has set about trying to develop new products. Shepherd’s Store (a sheep’s milk Gouda-style cheese made under contract by fellow cheesemaker Marion Roeleveld of Killeen Cheese, but matured by us) and Cashel Blue Cream Cheese followed in the early 2010s.
Trying new things
Today, with quite a bit of experience under our belts, we feel more in control of the blues and the time is right to reopen the chapter on hard cheese. In 2016 we will launch a new semi-hard cows’ milk cheese. As with everything here, the taste and quality come first, so we haven’t even begun to think of a name for it yet. However, we look forward to sharing this new cheese journey with you in due course. To find out about this exciting development and others, why not follow us on our Twitter or Facebook.. we’re quite active on these!
Not all our new product development tends to be related to cheese, curd, dairy, but has often revolved around equipment. We could call Louis Grubb a “frustrated engineer” (as is, to a lesser extent, his nephew, also named Louis, Clifton-Brown this time.) Over the years, Louis has sought ways making the crafting of Cashel Blue®, and by extension Crozier Blue, less physically demanding on the cheesemaker. Jane, who created Cashel Blue®, by the late 1980s had developed “cheesemaker’s back” (back problems) as a result to the very physical nature of making cheese. Determined to do anything he could to prevent this from happening to someone else, Louis spent hours sketching, calculating, playing with pens, balls etc, to come up with ideas to help reduce some of the lifting and repetitive movements that could cause strain. When he was finally happy to have devised a system that would help with one specific area, he would contact an engineer friend of his, Charles Lamb, and together they would try to upscale it to meet the requirements of the Dairy. Of course, not all Louis’ ideas proved successful, but, as the saying goes, “boys and their toys,” all this tinkering has kept Louis entertained for years!