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Ribblesdale Cheese Chat with: Michael, Boyne Valley Farmhouse Cheese, Ireland

Updated: Aug 31, 2020

Tell us a bit about you

Michael and family

When I came home to farm, we had to make a lot of changes; my father was getting old and wanted to retire.  The dairy cow herd was sold because the milking facilities were too old and that is when the idea of goats came up.

Goats 1
Goats 2

My pastimes are riding horses in the winter months and playing a bit of tennis in the summer.

I got into cheesemaking because the milk price can be volatile. It occurred to me that if I had a product of my own it would insulate me a bit.   I might even make some more money!  If I wasn’t cheese making I would probably be milking an awful lot more goats.  But I’m too busy for that now.


What do you make and why?

Cheese pics

The blue cheese comes in a 3 kg wheel. It is mild to medium strength and creamy in texture with a natural rind.  It has won numerous awards over the years.  Last year it won ‘Best Blue’ in the blue cheese category at the Artisan Cheese Awards and a bronze in the British Cheese Awards and in May 2018, it won a bronze at the

White cheese

Our white cheese ‘Boyne Valley Bán’ is similar in style to a Tomme de Savoie.  It is lightly pressed to give a firmer texture but still a semi-hard cheese.  It is a mild to medium strength cheese. It won a bronze in the Artisan Cheese Awards last year and also a bronze in the British Cheese awards 2017.

Tell us about your dairy

My dairy is fairly new.  I upgraded and expanded it in the 2016 so that I can now make more cheese more efficiently.  I converted a 200 year old stone shed in our farm yard in to our dairy.  It is three rooms mainly: the cheese making room, the ripening room and the handling and packaging room.  I have two cheese vats but I

Michaels dairy
Michael with cheese

How has the dairy industry changed since you started making cheese and what advice would you give to anyone thinking of being a cheese maker?

I don’t know if the dairy industry has changed dramatically since I started.  Advice I give to people who ring me about cheese making is mainly about the paperwork – there is an awful lot of it.

Where can we find your cheese?

My cheese is sold to Sheridans Cheesemongers who have cheese shops all around Ireland.  It is also sold to a wholesaler who supply restaurants and hotels nationwide in Ireland.

Favourite cheese making music?

I just have the radio on, usually Radio FM, which is similar to Radio 1 when I’m making cheese. So I could be listening to anything.  I must get myself a little speaker to connect to my phone so I can listen to stuff online.

Thank you, Michael, it has been really interesting talking to you, thank you for your time and long may you win awards for your fabulous cheeses.

Instagram: @Boynevalleycheese

Twitter: @Boynevalleyblue

Facebook: Boyne Valley Farmhouse Cheese

Coming up, Elizabeth, Whitby Cheese and Sophie, Sheffield Cheesemakers.

If you are or know anyone who is a small cheesemaker who would like to take part, get in touch!

#BoyneValleyBlue #BoyneValleyBan #RibblesdaleCheeseBlog #BoyneValleyFarmhouseCheese #Irishcheesemaker #Boothssupermarket #MichaelFinegan

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