Today we own three neighbouring Somerset farms – West Town House, Burnett’s Farm and Northwood Farm – and it is the milk from our own Holstein-Friesian cows that is used to produce our handcrafted cheddar and butter. These days we need a bit of help to run the farms and produce our cheese by hand, so as well as brothers Simon and Bob, and Bob’s son Rob, we employ around 25 others. Together, we make sure that our cows are well looked after and our cheese and butter is the very best we can produce.
And it is not only the Clapp family that have some history on the farm. Our original cheesemaker, Bill Melluish, is now retired but he was careful to pass on his passion and skills to his son, Billy and to our family, ensuring that the Brue Valley name lives up to its promise.
In the older photograph, taken nearly 30 years ago, Frank and Bill (on the right) are ‘cheddaring’ the cheese by hand turning the blocks. The second more recent one shows the curd being cut into blocks immediately prior to cheddaring.
Modern hygiene practices have visibly improved, but the cheese making process is unaltered. We firmly believe that hand turning in open vats produces the cheese our customers love.
Meet the team
Bill Melluish - Retired Head Cheesemaker
Bill was, until very recently, our Head Cheesemaker, having been with us for 50 years. We are very lucky that Bill has passed on his passion and craft for cheesemaking to his son Billy, who also works with us. Now having hung up his white cap, William is a regular on the local skittle team and enjoys looking after his grandchildren. Unsurprisingly perhaps, William’s favourite Brue product is cheese!