Lyburn farm lies on the northern edge of the New Forest, straddling the small river Blackwater, and has been farmed by the Smales family for the last 50 years. The river Blackwater rises on some of the high ground of the forest and as the heather and gorse gives way to the old ancient oak forest, home of the fallow deer, the countryside falls away sharply towards the north.
The name Lyburn, is in fact quite unique, it is derived from the Scottish, lye ‘born’, and burn ‘river’, ‘borne by the river’, and with the Blackwater on either side we certainly are. The whole operation of producing cheese is very much a team effort.
Phil has been at the farm a long time now and knows each of the cows as individuals. His job, as herdsman, is to produce clean wholesome, good quality milk with low cell counts. The cows produce about 1.3 million litres of milk a year, of which we turn about 50% into cheese. James, will then use his skills as a cheesemaker, to turn the milk into curds.
Then, eventually cheese, over a period of 10 weeks to 18 months. Andy, Steve and Amy then look after the maturation of the cheese, the packing and distribution. Jono the eldest son will look after the farm and do the muddy boots bit, mother Judy will look after the farm office.