The Barber family has been farming in the heart of rural Somerset in England since the early 1800s and today can boast of an expertise in cheddar-making that's developed over six generations.
Barber’s cheddar has PDO status and is one of the few certified "West Country Farmhouse Cheddars". Barber's 1833 Vintage Reserve is the company’s flagship cheese.
Barber's places a great emphasis on cheesemaking using traditional methods to ensure both the quality of their cheese and continuity of local traditions. To further their mission, they've created a specialist laboratory dedicated to the preservation of natural mixed cultures.
The cultures were first developed generations ago from natural bacteria found in local milk. After being swapped among local cheesemakers for many years, they were saved from extinction, refined to isolate the best strains and are now preserved for continued use. Barber's is the only local cheesemaker still using these cultures in the production of block cheddar.
In cooperation with the "West Country Farmhouse Cheddar" PDO restrictions, Barber's cheddars are made only with local milk, on the farm using traditional methods.
The curds are stacked by hand to ensure that the right 'cheddaring' effect is achieved and all cheeses are assessed by a professional grader to ensure a high level of quality before release.
In a move to become more environmentally sustainable, Barber's has created an advanced system for refining the whey that's left over from cheesemaking. It's split into four separate products: cream, protein, lactose, and water. The cream is churned to make butter, the protein is concentrated and dried into a powder, the lactose is used as livestock feed, and the water is used to wash and clean dairy.
Barber's 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar, their flagship cheese, is chosen from Barber's cheddars that have been carefully selected for their keeping qualities. After 3 months, all cheeses are graded by an expert who determines quality of the cheese and when the flavor profile will be at its best. The Vintage Reserve is always aged for a minimum of 24 months, and represents Barber's' "summit of achievement".