The Wensleydale Creamery, the famous Yorkshire Dales cheese-maker, has celebrated the 20th anniversary of the formation of its dedicated Milk Producer Group. The Creamery at Hawes, in Wensleydale is now sourcing milk from over 40 local farms, contributing more than £12million to the local economy through milk payments, wages and purchases.
A modern success story, The Wensleydale Creamery is going from strength to strength as it looks forward to a strong start to 2017, following a £5million investment in its new dairy and cheese-making facilities. Driven by the love for its quality handcrafted cheeses, the business, which is seeing year-on-year growth in the UK and internationally, had its busiest festive period ever; with its award-winning cheeses being enjoyed on many of the nation’s Christmas cheeseboards.
David Hartley, managing director at The Wensleydale Creamery, said: “We’re passionate and proud of our Yorkshire heritage and provenance and we are delighted to be celebrating 20 years of working closely with our Milk Producer Group as we head into the 21st year. It’s a significant landmark and achievement that the group continues to come together and support each other 20 years on!
“We want to say a big thank you to all of our supplying farmers for their high quality milk, which is at the heart of our truly special cheese. Our family of farmers is integral to the production of our award-winning cheeses, yogurts and butter, and it’s vital that we support them to ensure a sustainable milk future for the Yorkshire Dales.”
Matthew Bell, chairman of The Wensleydale Milk Producer Group, commented: “It was fantastic for us all to come together to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the formation of the Milk Producer Group. I cannot stress enough the importance and value of The Wensleydale Creamery to our local and deeply rural Dales economy. Our industry is facing tough issues and we need to work together throughout the supply chain to ensure a viable future for us all.
“It’s a really competitive market out there for the dairy industry. We need to continue to work hand in hand to ensure that we deliver the milk that’s needed to supply The Creamery, as it aspires to grow over the next 20 years.”
The Wensleydale Creamery, based at Hawes in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, is home of the famous Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese, which is protected with European Protected Food Name status. It is renowned for its traditional cheese-making skills as well as being innovative with the development of new cheese and dairy products.
In 1996, The Wensleydale Creamery secured contracts with local farms for the direct supply of milk to The Creamery. Today, it continues this relationship with the group of farmers who are dedicated to supplying quality milk to make its award-winning cheese, and is actively looking for more Yorkshire farmers to join its Milk Producer Group.
A four-course 20th celebration dinner was held in Calvert’s Restaurant at The Wensleydale Creamery Visitor Centre, with farmers from the Milk Producer Group and the milk tanker drivers to mark the occasion.