Say cheese! Inside the Leagram Organic Dairy in Chipping

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While taking a break in the wonderfully lush lands in east/central Lancashire, between the Hodder and Ribble valleys, we dropped in to the Leagram Organic Dairy. I’ve long been a fan of the excellent Lancashire cheeses they produce… sold on Todmorden Market (as you can see in this panorama)… and I’d wanted to visit the dairy in person for some time.

We had a great chat with Robert (Bob) Kitching, who’s a bit of a legend in cheese circles. Famed for his live cheesemaking demonstrations the length and breadth of the land, as well as regular media appearances, Bob’s a familiar sight in his magnificent cheese waistcoat. Here he is in action at the Fantastic Food Show in Blackburn in 2012, selling cheese as fast as he can.

Leagram Organic Dairy team at Blackburn

Bob’s a strong advocate for traditional Lancashire cheese-making, and has served his time in the industry over the last three decades; first working with some of the most well-known players before setting up his own Leagram operation around a decade ago. You can find a good summary of the story on the Cheese Detective site here. What caught my eye was Bob’s incredible collection of cheese-making related equipment: churns, presses, bottles and other paraphernalia. He’s in the process of creating a small museum to preserve the artisanal history of the local cheese-making scene, and some of the items can be seen in this panorama.

Their cracking dairy products are sold in restaurants and good food outlets across the North West: as well as traditionally made and aged cow’s milk Lancashire cheeses, and various flavoured versions, they also make a range of organic sheep’s cheeses from a local flock just up the road. It’s a small-scale, family-run operation, and provenance is as important as the final product for the Kitching family.

If you’re ever near Chipping, a delightfully picturesque village in its own right, it’s well worth dropping into the Leagram Organic dairy to buy some fresh cheese direct from the producer. You’ll probably be serenaded by the sounds of curlews and other wild wetland birds at the RSPB sanctuary next door. For more information see the Ribble Food Trail website. Alternatively you may see them on the road at a range of food shows across the North and further afield. If you do, buy some of their cheese. You’ll not regret it!

Award-winning cheeses at Leagram, Chipping, Lancashire

Special thanks to Bob for his time, generosity and goodwill in making us feel so welcome.
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