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Dairy farmer's cheese enterprise takes off

A Cornish dairy farmer and his family have successfully launched their first cheeses after using Objective One investment to create a purpose-built factory at his farm on the Lizard Peninsula.

Toppenrose Dairy's first two cheeses went on sale in April – and the customers are already coming back for more.

The new dairy at Trenance Farm, St Keverne, has been created as part of a £263,000 project that involved investment of £52,700 through Objective One and a similar sum from the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Work on the project began last spring with an old concrete-built barn being demolished and replaced with a small, modern creamery equipped for the production, storage and packing of cheeses.

David Lambrick from Toppenrose Dairy said: "We completed the creamery last November and we spent quite a bit of time trying out some different cheeses.

"It's still early days but we began selling cheeses at the beginning of April and it's been very successful so far. We're producing about half a tonne a month at the moment and we've had lots of positive feedback from our first customers – who are already coming back for more."

The first two cheeses produced by the new creamery are both soft mould-ripened cheeses – Toppenrose Gold is made with double cream, while St Keverne Square is a Camembert-type cheese produced in small squares.

Mr Lambrick added: "We're a small farm with limited acreage and with milk prices being so volatile the returns have been disappointing. We knew the only way ahead was to diversify and with the help of Objective One and DEFRA, we've been able to do that."

The project is the latest in a series of dairy projects financed through the Objective One programme, all of which seek to add value to milk at a time when raw milk prices continue to decline.

David Rodda, who leads the Objective One Agricultural Development Team, said the project was a good example of how farmers could use Objective One investment to diversify.

He said: "Objective One's Measure 1.4 provides investment specifically for processing projects. This is an excellent example of how a farmer has used Objective One to create a way of adding value to his own produce which in turn will improve the prospects for the enterprise as a whole. This is just the kind of thing that we want to encourage."

Roger Metcalf, the Agricultural team's dairy sector co-ordinator, added: "As well as making the Lambrick farm more viable and enabling David Lambrick's son Ben to become full time, in the long term the new creamery will require milk from other local farms and provide extra employment opportunities around St Keverne."


Editor's notes:

European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF)

EAGGF is one of the four funds that make up the Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, which is making £314 million of investment available to support the local economy between 2000 and 2006.

EAGGF aims to:

Help preserve the link between diversified farming and the land.
Improve and support the competitiveness of agriculture as a key activity in rural areas.
Ensure the diversification of the economy in rural areas.
Help to keep thriving communities in rural areas.
Preserve and improve the environment, the landscape and the rural heritage.

For further information contact:

David Lambrick
Toppenrose Dairy
01326 280117


Jason Clark
Communications Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel: 01872 241379
Fax: 01872 241388

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