The Story of How King Charles Helped Save British Farmhouse Cheese

The Story of How King Charles Helped Save British Farmhouse Cheese

King Charles III's support for causes he cares deeply about is well documented, but did you know he also had a crucial role in the renaissance of the British Farmhouse Cheese industry?

The story begins back in the early 90s, when Britain had endured a series of food scares. These scares had knocked the confidence of the British Public in farming and as such caused a knee-jerk reaction in policy, with new rules being introduced to industrial cheesemakers - but importantly, they were also being rolled out to smaller artisanal makers. 

Along with the entire British Farmhouse Cheese industry, Randolph Hodgson - owner of London Cheese Shop Neal's Yard Dairy - was concerned by this. Randolph had set up the Specialist Cheesemakers Association (SCA) in 1989 to lobby for the interests of smaller cheesemakers across the Britain, and he understood the disastrous affects the new policies could have on his industry. 

The then-Prince Charles became aware of Randolph's work, and he became patron of the organisation in 1993, joining the fight against issues the industry was facing. 

It wasn't until 1999 however that Prince Charles' influence came to a fore. As the introduction of the new policies was being discussed, he organised a meeting between all parties at his Gloucestershire residence, Highgrove. 

"Do we think it is important to keep these cheeses and traditions going?" asked the Prince. 

Everyone agreed that it was.

"So, what are you going to do about it?" he followed up.

The resulting discussion concluded with Civil Servants agreeing to work with the cheesemakers to help rise the standards of hygiene in smaller dairies, while protecting the traditions of the industry.

It was, says Randolph Hodgson, an "incredibly important moment" in the history of British cheese.

"He wasn't seeking attention for his support, he just brought everyone together and found a path through it all," he remembers.

So with the King's Coronation fast approaching, we'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you to our new Monarch for his services to our industry. He loves Farmhouse Cheese nearly as much as we do!