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Honingham farmer’s cheese-making courses go residential with new holiday units

PUBLISHED: 12:31 22 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:04 22 August 2017

Goats' milk and cheese supplier Fielding Cottage near Honingham has built three holiday units which will accommodate people on its cheese-making courses. Pictured is Fielding Cottage owner Sam Steggles outside the units. Picture: Bethany Whymark

Goats' milk and cheese supplier Fielding Cottage near Honingham has built three holiday units which will accommodate people on its cheese-making courses. Pictured is Fielding Cottage owner Sam Steggles outside the units. Picture: Bethany Whymark

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The residential course remains a popular form of educational break, from pottery and painting to allotment-keeping. But how about cheese-making?

Fielding Cottage, goat's cheese producers. Emma Tabrett and Sam Steggles.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Fielding Cottage, goat's cheese producers. Emma Tabrett and Sam Steggles. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Fielding Cottage in Honingham, which supplies goats’ milk and cheeses, will be welcoming its first budding cheese-makers next year – and hopes to fully immerse them in the experience by putting them up in on-site accommodation.

The maker of the award-winning Wensum White cheese received funding from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) to construct the three holiday units.

Together they can sleep 10 people and come equipped with a communal games room, which will double up as a teaching facility when the week-long cheese-making courses launch in early 2018.

Between residential courses the units will double as ordinary holiday lets, with the first guests welcomed last week.

Fielding Cottage, goat's cheese producers. Emma Tabrett.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Fielding Cottage, goat's cheese producers. Emma Tabrett. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Owner of Fielding Cottage Sam Steggles was inspired by his own experience on a cheese-making course on the Isle of Skye, where no such accommodation was provided.

“There was also nobody locally teaching about cheese-making,” he said. “We had a few enquiries from people who were keen to learn about cheese and saw an opportunity. We explored it further, and now we have residential cheese-making course accommodation.”

He added: “We now know enough to give people an insight into where your food comes from and how it is made. It is about engaging with your community, but also putting something back into the community and the dairy industry.”

Mr Steggles said the slump in milk prices – which have now started to rally – forced dairy farmers to consider other ways of extracting value from their products.

Fielding Cottage, goat's cheese producers. Emma Tabrett. Picture: ANTONY KELLY Fielding Cottage, goat's cheese producers. Emma Tabrett. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

He said: “We have had a few people that have suffered from low milk prices who came to us wanting to know about making cheese and whether it was worthwhile.

“The short answer is, you are adding value to a commodity product. Processing milk to add value is becoming more popular.”

As part of the cheese-making courses, staff from The Red Cat Partnership will be delivering accredited food hygiene training.

Fielding Cottage has churned out more than 14,000 individual cheeses so far this year.

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