Video: Family & farm

Family & farm

The Clapp family has been farming in Somerset since at least 1538 or maybe even earlier! On returning from a few years in Australia in the 1920s, grandfather started making cider but it wasn’t until 1958 that our father began to experiment with cheesemaking and in doing so created the enterprise that was to shape the farm’s future. The 1970 vintage film features a young Simon and his father.

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.