Last summer, immediately after attending the Science of Artisan Cheese conference, I had the chance to visit Will and Caroline Atkinson at Hill Farm Dairy, located in Somerset in the south west of England.
Neither Caroline or Will came from farming backgrounds. The concept for a goat dairy and cheesemaking facility developed as a result of Caroline's passion for cheese, ignited after working at Neal's Yard Dairy in London. Both were keen to move to the countryside and, in 2007, after an 18 month period where Caroline apprenticed with Mary Holbrook at the nearby and highly regarded Sleight Farm, while Will continued his job as a lawyer in Bristol, the couple decided to quit their respective jobs and move to the heart of Somerset with a view to making cheese from the milk of their own goats.
Over the course of the last week, I had the good fortune to be trotting around Somerset in the UK. The focal point of the trip was to attend a two day conference at North Cadbury Court, home of the Montgomery family and the famed Montgomery cheddar. I will be writing about this later - suffice for now to say, it was incredible.
Since the west country is home to so many remarkable UK cheesemakers, I also arranged a couple of other visits around the conference, including a visit to Mary Holbrook's Sleight Farm, located near Bath.