My wife Norma and I started exploring options for on-farm diversification over a year ago. We recognised that we had a fantastic resource in the quality of the milk we produce. We looked at all the different products that we could produce on-farm and finally decided that we were most passionate about producing farmhouse cheese.

We were very fortunate to meet Eddie O’Neill, the artisan food specialist based in Teagasc, Moorepark. Under Eddie’s watchful eye we set about developing our own unique recipes. Eddie has been a fantastic resource, guiding us through the various steps on our diversification journey. After months of testing, tasting and experimenting, we have crafted our first product. It is a cheddar-style cheese, also available in two flavoured varieties – cumin seeds and tomato and herbs.

Supermarket listing

Through the support of our Local Enterprise Office, we recently completed the SuperValu food academy programme. As a result, Bó Rua Farm cheese will be on the shelves of local SuperValu stores from next January. As we build our stock of cheese, we hope that that this will grow into a national listing.

I have come to really enjoy the cheesemaking process. There is something almost therapeutic about watching and waiting for the milk to set. An almost magical transformation takes place after cutting, once the curds and whey separate. It is a process every dairy farmer should experience at least once.

I get immense satisfaction in seeing the result of my hard work on the farm through to its end. Bó Rua cheese is the product of the interaction between us, our farm, our cows and our grass. It encapsulates all of the decisions I make on a daily basis as dairy farmer and now as a cheesemaker.

So for anyone who is at the Ploughing next Tuesday, do drop by the Bank of Ireland tent for a sample of our cheese. We are looking forward to the feedback.

Read more

All about Ploughing 2015