One of the world’s most experienced cheese graders, whose nose has been valued at £5m, is to be the keynote speaker at this year’s Dorset County Show Country Land and Business Association (CLA) breakfast briefing.
Nigel Pooley has been working in the dairy industry for the past 53 years, spending 20 years with Bruton-based family cheesemakers Wyke Farms.
Although officially retired, Nigel – known affectionately as “Nige the Nose” - is currently cheese grading and product quality development manager, working three days a week cheese grading and selecting cheese for customers.
In his time, Nigel has graded more than 1.5m tonnes of cheddar and his nose is so important that it has been valued for insurance purposes at £5m.
Clearly it is worthwhile as Wyke Farms recently scooped the gold awards for its Organic Mature Cheddar and Block Mature Cheddar at the Global Cheese Awards. The company, which owns the UK’s fastest growing cheddar brand – currently sells 14,000 tonnes of cheese per year, selling products in Asda, Co-op, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose.
Wyke Farms also exports to 160 countries across the globe, and sees China, India and Japan as key growth markets. Some of the milk supplied to Wyke Farms comes from dairy farmers across Dorset.
The company is one of the first national food brands to be self-sufficient in green energy, using solar panels and generating electricity and heat from cow dung to produce biogas. Biogas is then converted into biomethane which powers the cheesemaking and milk processing operations.
Nigel is guarded about the reason for the company’s success, other than his naturally honed palate, but said: “The lush, green Somerset grass is what makes the milk so rich and creamy and that makes our cheddar so delicious, combined with the skills of our highly experienced cheese graders.”
Richard Cuzens, Dorset County Show Secretary, said it was great to have such an expert from one of the most successful food exporters in the South West.
“There will be tremendous interest in Nigel’s talk. Wyke Farms have managed to keep on growing by staying true to its traditional brand values.”
Sarah Fern, CLA events and partnership manager, said she was delighted that Nigel was speaking at the Saturday morning breakfast, which is sponsored by Dorchester solicitors Porter Dodson and accountants and financial planners Old Mill.
“Nigel has knowledge and experience of all dairy products and processes from operator to general management but has spent a lot of time in cheese.
“He will bring tasters for us to enjoy and talk a little about cheese grading too.”
21st Jun 2016 10:10:00