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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

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A visit to Heap’s Dairy, home of Calderdale Cheese

Not long after moving to Calderdale, I came across a cracking market stall on Todmorden market. Seduced at first by the wonderful pies on sale, I soon sampled the locally made cheese, and struck up a conversation with the proprietor, Robyn Heap. She told me about the farm she and her husband David ran, and how they’d started to produce their own commercial farmhouse cheese, the first in Calderdale, based on a century-old recipe they’d found whilst carrying out work in the cellars. I’m a sucker for good Yorkshire ales paired with equally good Yorkshire foodstuffs, and I’d found a great half of the equation at this stall.

Fast forward eighteen months, plently of pies and cheese from the stall, a royal visit and much official recognition later, and I was finally able to visit their farm on the tops at Hubberton above Sowerby Bridge. I really couldn’t have asked for a better day: not a cloud in the sky, and only the sound of bees and curlews in the sky above. I shot the panoramas in this post, and a regular photoshoot of farm life as well, and enjoyed the banter, wisdom and hospitality of David and Robyn during my visit. I think the views below capture a little of the magic, beauty and hard work which this successful farm exudes. I can’t finish without urging you to try and sample some of their wares if you’re in the area (see their website for stockists) because it’s great stuff: somewhere between a Lancashire, Wensleydale and a Cheshire cheese. Perfect with some homemade bread and a bottle of locally brewed beer!

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Click below for a fullscreen 360° view of the scene in Flash or QuickTime format, or locate the scene in Google Earth.