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Norbury Park Farm Cheese – The ‘Only Cheesemaker In Surrey’

Published on: 28 Mar, 2019
Updated on: 30 Mar, 2019

by Hugh Coakley

Neil and Michaela Allam make their beautiful Norbury Blue cheese on Sherbourne Farm, a very pleasant location on the Albury Estate, owned by the Duke of Northumberland.

Neil proudly says that: “We are Surrey’s only commercial cheesemaker.”

Norbury Blue made by the Norbury Park Farm Cheese Company at Sherbourne Farm near the Silent Pool.

They make both Norbury Blue and Dirty Vicar, a white moulded cheese of their own recipe, there on the farm estate.

“Dirty Vicar is getting more and more popular but the Norbury Blue will always be our flagship cheese.” said Neil.

They are planning to make a local cheddar as well which is likely to be very popular. But it will be a big change to what they do now. Cheddar, as a hard cheese, is a different process and needs a cheese press and a maturing room, both of which Neil is working on now.

Neil said: “Our cheeses can be ready in about six weeks, but the cheddar will need to mature for at least six months and longer.”

Silent Pool Gin is their neighbour on the estate and, looking at the builders working on the farm, more small businesses will soon be joining them there. With Surrey Spice, an events catering, cooking lessons and freezer meal company, moving in next door on the farm estate, it makes it quite a busy little corner of rural Surrey.

Norbury Blue Cheese is made on the Albury Estate on Sherbourne Farm. They are the “only cheesemaker in Surrey” says Neil Allam.

They started making Norbury Blue cheese about 18 years ago on Norbury Park Farm in Mickleham in Surrey. Hence the name.

They moved to Sherbourne Farm over four years ago but with building works and one thing and another, they only moved the cheesemaking to the farm fully in November 2018.

Dirty Vicar, a white moulded soft cheese, made by the Norbury Park Farm Cheese Company at Sherbourne Farm near the Silent Pool.

Michaela comes from a dairy family and, initially, all the milk came from her father’s herd. But then there was a falling out. “It’s like the Archers” said Neil. The result was that all the milk now comes from Capel in Surrey.

Neil Allam said: “We pay a premium price for the milk. We want the best quality milk but we also want to keep our local dairy industry going. No dairy industry, no local cheesemaking.”

Both Neil and Michaela are colourful characters. They met at a farmers’ market when Neil, a watercress grower from Hampshire, was also attending. They are now a team, married and both involved in the cheesemaking, delivery and sales.

“Michaela does the business side though,” said Neil with a smile, “She is more diplomatic than me.”

Like most people who run their own company, Neil was constantly busy and straining to get back to his main purpose, selling his cheese. While he was talking to The Guildford Dragon NEWS, he was on the ‘phone and also serving people that dropped into their Sherbourne Farm shop even though it wasn’t open.

They provide a real personal and local service. The difference between them, as a local company, and supermarkets for instance, is stark.

As an example, Neil couldn’t get the card machine to work for one customer who had just dropped in on the off chance. “Don’t worry about it,” said Neil.

Not only had the customer his cheese on trust but also, he was offered a sample of the Norbury Blue. The customer raved over it. “That’s exceptional. So creamy. I’ll be back with the money.”

And you can bet that he will be back and he will also buy more cheese.

“Blessed are the cheesemakers.”

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