The story of Neneview Dairy – the Little Cheesery with the Big Plans
Chris and Geoff Twell moved to Redlands Farm, near Stanwick in 2011 and almost immediately rebuilt the farmhouse. The next job was the overgrown orchard. A friend suggested that they get some goats, enter Misty, Mo and Winston. Three goats led to 96 and it was decided that maybe they should learn to make cheese. Neneview Dairy was born!
However, there’s plenty of soft goat’s cheese about and Chris and Geoff wanted to be different and make hard cheese. They consulted the internet, as you do, and found the British Goat Society who helped them achieve their aim. Goats like to be warm and dry so housing had to be provided. They now had 96 goats ‘in kid’ and found a second hand milking parlour and rented a trailer called ‘The Little Cheesery – Making Cheese Wherever You Please!’ This had begun life in India where a Derby firm had sent it to provide cheese for the locals. It turned out the locals would prefer tea to cheese! So the trailer was returned to the UK – India’s loss, the Twell’s gain!
Chris and Geoff obtained a mentor – John Knox from Kerrygold (you may have heard of them!) – who sent them on a cheese making course in Nantwich. They had a problem though. To take the course they needed to bring 2,500 litres of goat’s milk with them. Geoff made a phone call to the manager of the local Waitrose. Amazingly, they could provide this amount of milk. However, it would come in 2 litre bottles! So, laden with milk they made their way to Nantwich, took an age to empty all the bottles, and became proficient goat’s cheese makers.
Neneview Dairy was founded in 2013 and now produces 11 different cheeses, mostly with names associated with the history of Northamptonshire, the boot and shoe trade in particular – Cobbler’s Choice, Skyver, Togglers, and Hobnail amongst others. The cheese is made using mostly local ingredients (rennet and culture has to be bought in from elsewhere) still in The Little Cheesery, which is a self-contained cheese making facility complete with white wellies at the door.
In 2015 they won the Carlsberg Food and Drink Award for the New Local Product of the Year which opened doors for them to improve and expand their business. There are now 150 goats at Neneview Dairy, all named (this year, all names begin with ‘D’!) and business is brisk with the cheese selling as quickly as they can make it.
The cheeses are sold in several local outlets as well as to some wholesalers. Gift packs are produced at Christmas which make fabulous presents. Geoff and Chris are available for talks, if anyone is interested in this fascinating subject and company. There is no charge but they do ask that they are allowed to bring and sell their cheese whilst with you. Take a look at their website if you’d like to contact them or for more information on where you can buy this amazing cheese (we have tasted it- it’s delicious!) See them at the Northampton Winter Food Festival, too, at The County Ground on November 11th and 12th.