Martin has spent most of his life in the food industry. From an early age he would go to markets with his father and passionately sell the products. It was the the cheese that really grabbed is attention and he set off on a mission to create amazing cheese. He began by working with acclaimed cheese makers such as Mary Holbrook and Graham Kirkham of Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire. Confident that he had the tools to succeed, along with partner Nicola, he set up at Holker Farm in the Lake District and began to produce something unique to the UK: a washed-rind ewe’s milk cheese. Inspired by the late James Aldridge, Martin decided to call his cheese St James.
For Martin, the traditional methods are the best so the milk had to be fresh and warm every morning, straight from the Lacaune ewes.
Pasteurisation was out of the question. But Martin wanted to go one step further. He didn’t like the idea of buying commercial starter cultures so decided that he would make his own. He is among only a small handful of cheesemakers in the UK who do this. The best sheep are selected and the starter is cultivated from their milk. Such was the effort that went into the process, St James won the James Aldridge Memorial Award for best British raw milk cheese in one it’s first years of existence.
Martin believes that great milk makes great cheese.
That is why a huge emphasis is placed on our farming methods and ensuring the sheep have as good a quality a life as possible. Our ewes are free to roam and feed on the diverse pasture that surrounds our unique farm here in Cumbria.
The farm now produces a range of ewe’s milk cheeses, including our own feta.