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A cheese experience

Those who have not been to the International Cheese Awards at Nantwich should probably go at least once to the field in Cheshire if they love cheese. Here on many tables, 5,685 cheeses from over 50 different countries competed this year to be named the Supreme Champion. This was a 13% increase over last year’s numbers, and more than 250 judges did the honours. The proud winner of the award was Papillon’s Roquefort Revelation, a blue cheese imported into the UK by Bradbury’s. Reserve supreme chamption was Arla Food’s Tuxford and Tebbutt for its blue Stilton.

It is gratifying to see that in an age where the UK is agonisingly negotiating its painful exit from the European Union, judges at the cheese show continue to select the best cheese, no matter where it originates from. And, it was even more amazing that the organisers managed to feed 1,366 people at the luncheon afterwards, where the retailer class trophies were announced.

There were also a couple of awards that show how the cheese industry embraces its history and prepares for its future. The British Cheese Board industry award was presented to Brenda Davies, recently retired from Arla Foods, and Young Person of the Year went to John Clarke, also of Arla Foods, for his important project on adding vitamin D to milk. Long may this show continue.

I was watching Countryfile last night, and thought the piece about the traumatised veterans working on a farm was very well done. We all know how nice it is to visit a farm and see the animals, and The Farm-Able Project is the charity that places veterans in agriculture. As the dairy farmer Jamie Quinn said, “There were days when I spent a few nights in the cowshed.”

Really inspiring stories from people who have been through a lot, and are seeing the benefits of working with cows and in agriculture in helping their wellbeing. The charity also does other things, such as teaching rural and craft skills like dry stone walling and hedging, landscaping and keeping chickens. Please visit www.farmable.co.uk for more details.

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