Hafod (pronounced Havod) is Welsh for ‘summer place’ or ‘pasture’, and it’s on such pasture that the Holden’s 65-strong Ayrshire cows graze when they’re not sheltering for winter. Almost 100% of the herd’s diet is grown on the farm, as is the straw for the indoor bedding; for the past four decades, the family has been working on being wholly self-sustaining.
Their organic milk, rich in butterfat and protein, is ideal for cheese production. This exceptional cheese was developed with the help of Randolph Hodgson using an old, slow set cheddar recipe found in a nineteenth century book. Slightly sweet with an intense grassy aroma and lingering flavour of pasture. The texture is dense and moist. No wonder the fold at Neal’s Yard Dairy call it ‘toothsome.’
Situated near the coast in west Wales, Bwlchwernen Fawr has been home to the Holden family since the early 1970s. A leading figure in the Soil Association and the Sustainable Food Trust, Patrick Holden’s influence on British farming has been considerable, but it wasn’t until his son Sam returned to the farm in 2007 that they began making cheese.