Cheesemakers of Canterbury
Jane Bowyer already had over 20 years in the dairy business under her belt when she established Cheesemakers of Canterbury in 2007. She knew from her own experience that Kent was a county boasting excellent milk, cream and butter but that it was limited in locally produced, naturally rinded unpasteurised cheeses.
A cheesemaking couple in Wiltshire who were planning to retire passed on their skills, equipment, and the traditional recipe for Ashmore cheese, which began life in a smallholders’ text book by the North of Scotland College of Agriculture. Jane’s old dairy at Lamberhurst Farm, Dargate was fully refurbished and her small but merry band of “blessed cheesemakers” got down to work. Six months later, the first batch was ready to go to market.
Today, Ashmore cheeses continue to be made traditionally by hand from the unpasteurised milk of British Friesian cows, collected in their own tanker from nearby Debden Farm in Petham.
The naturally rinded hard Ashmore varieties have been joined by a hard goat’s cheese developed from the same recipe. Kelly’s Canterbury Goat is made from local goat’s milk from Ellie's Dairy in Wychling. They also have a growing soft cow’s, goat’s and sheep’s cheese range, including Bowyer’s, Chaucers and Dumpy.