Orkney Cheese, Orkneys
Orkney has a long tradition of cheese making in keeping with the need for farmers there to be almost self-sufficient. The rich pasturelands are ideal for feeding up cows, even if the weather may see the beast lying down a bit more often than would be the case elsewhere in Britain.
There is fairly large-scale industrial cheese-making in Orkney , with cheddar-type cheese the main product. This can be found in various supermarkets around the country, and we should by no means turn our nose up at the product. Rather more interesting and different is the smoked version of that cheese.
Farm-produced cheese for home consumption doubtless still exists in Orkney, though sadly the regulations imposed by the authorities means that operations such as that previously run by Jean Wallace on Shapinsay, selling small quantities of hand-made cheese to the outside world, were forced to close. They were unable to invest in the stainless-steel equipment demanded, and that would have probably reduced the individuality of the cheeses anyway.
But one very small-scale craft cheese-maker (and blessed are the cheese-makers) endures: Grimbister Farmhouse Cheese, from the farm where Hilda Seator and her husband keep about a score of Friesian cows. The cheese is hard to find beyond Orkney: soft textured and creamy, it is sought out by discerning cheese-lovers looking for the character and individuality that our bureaucrats would be happier to see disappear.
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