The Pembrokeshire Cheese Company Launches 100% Welsh Cheddar

Cheese-lovers in Wales will soon be able to buy a range of premium cheddars made from 100% Welsh milk, with the launch this week of the Pembrokeshire Cheese Company.

The new cheeses - produced by around 300 dairy farmers, all based within a 35 mile radius of the Haverfordwest Creamery in Pembrokeshire - are targetted at the increasing consumer demand for foods with a local provenance.

Paul Rowe, general manager of the Creamery, says: "Currently only 6%* of the cheese sold in Wales is Welsh, compared with 27% of cheese sold in Scotland being Scottish. The unique climate here in west Wales means we are able to produce amazing quality cheese and we want to shout about it – that's why we are only using local milk and have put the Pembrokeshire name on the packaging."

The Pembrokeshire Cheese Company is part of a farmer-owned business, meaning it is the farmers themselves who will benefit most from the enterprise's success.

George Llewellin, from Lower House Farm, close to the creamery, is one of the farmers whose milk is used in the cheese. George's family has been farming there for over 45 years and all of the milk from his 210 cows goes towards making the Mature and Extra Mature cheddar at the Haverfordwest creamery.

He says: "It's great that people are taking more of an interest in where their food comes from - and very exciting to see the Pembrokeshire name standing out on the shelf, knowing it is our milk that has gone towards making it."

The three Welsh cheddars produced by the Pembrokeshire Cheese Company are:

Mature Welsh Cheddar This tasty, firm bodied cheese is hand selected for its creamy, savoury flavour and delicate sweetness. Available in 200g and 400g pre-packs.

Extra Mature Welsh Cheddar This tangy cheese is matured a little longer to give it a deliciously crumbly texture and a sweeter, yet more savoury taste. Available in 200g pre-pack and 2.5Kg deli blocks.

Mature Organic Welsh Cheddar Made with cows' milk from organically farmed herds, this Cheddar is deliciously smooth with a creamy, slightly savoury taste with just the faintest hint of sweetness. Available in 200g pre-pack & 2.5Kg deli blocks.

The cheeses will be available throughout Wales at branches of Somerfield and Spar, with more retailers to follow.

More information about the Pembrokeshire Cheese Company may be found at the website:

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Editor's Notes

The Pembrokeshire Cheese Company

The Pembrokeshire Cheese Company is wholly owned by the First Milk Cheese Company, a division of First Milk

First Milk is the largest farmer-owned dairy business in the UK. Its members' farms stretch from West Wales to East Anglia and from Central Scotland to the South of England

The company handles approximately 1.8 billion litres of milk per annum from its 2,600 dairy farmer members

The Haverfordwest Creamery

The creamery was originally built in 1930 as a milk processing factory when local milk was condensed to be made into evaporated milk. In 1963, the site was converted into a cheese factory.

First Milk bought a 20% share of Haverfordwest creamery in 2002

In 2006, there was a £2.6m upgrade in the cheese room

In October 2006, Fiorst Milk bought the majority of Dairy Crest's retailer branded cheese operations, including the remaining share of Haverfordwest creamery

This year has seen a £3m investment in the installation of new whey processing equipment at the site, part-funded by a £1.2m grant from the Welsh Assembly Government

In 2007, the creamery won 50 awards for its cheese including 10 gold medals

To date this year, the creamery has won The Grocer magazine's Own Lael Excellence Award in the traditional cheese category, as well as eight medals at the early agricultural shows.

For further information, please contact Jill Coyle on 07825 625205