Visiting the Erringtons (what talented neighbours we have)
The quality of the food we serve at The Lint Mill is very important to us. Eating is not simply ‘re-fuelling’. For us it is nourishment in the real sense of the word. We seek to nourish the mind and spirit as well as the body through the careful ethical choices we make.
A very big part of The Lint Mill experience is eating the meat that we rear and the fruit and vegetables that we grow. What we don’t produce ourselves we go to great lengths to source a producer whose values reflect ours.
So, it was a special delight to visit our neighbours at Errington Cheese Walston Breahead Farm in Carnwath last week.
The Erringtons moved from Dumfriesshire to Lanarkshire in 1981, running as a mixed farming enterprise of beef cattle and sheep. Humphrey Errington started looking at ways of diversifying and became interested in sheep milking and ewes milk cheese because of the ancient tradition of this activity in the Upper Clyde area. It’s fair to say that even though he no longer makes the cheese himself now, he is somewhat of a local food hero in these parts. Cheese making began in 1983 on a small scale and now the farming enterprise is geared to the need for ewes’ milk in order to keep up with the growing demand for the cheese. Because sheep milking in the winter months is not a practical possibility in Scotland, in the late 1980’s they began buying in cows’ milk to keep them busy in the winter. This inaugurated the range of cows’ milk cheeses, still of traditional local types.
Angela talked us through the process and we were lucky enough to see the moulds being filled with the curds that make their famous ewes’ milk Lanark Blue cheese on the morning of our visit.
We saw the next room full of racks of cheese where they are turned and salted by hand as well as the maturation rooms.
According to Angela, the traditional farm buildings are perfect for cheese making due to their thick stone walls which help keep a high level of humidity which is essential for their cheeses.
We were able to taste some of the cheese at the end of our visit, notably the Lanark White, one we hadn’t tasted before. This confirmed our decision to offer a special cheese board containing only fine Errington cheese to our guests when they visit.
And there’s plenty to choose from to make the cheese board special; the iconic Lanark Blue (sheep’s milk blue cheese), Lanark White (sheep’s milk white cheese), Biggar Blue (made with goats’ milk), Dunsyre Blue (a cows’ milk blue cheese), Maisie’s Kebbuk (white cows’ milk cheese) and finally Cora Linn (a white sheep’s milk cheese).
So, together with Colin’s homemade oatcakes and his delicious chutney, we will be happy to serve you with a local cheese board of exceptional quality, with completely local provenance.
Oh, and did I mention how lovely the fields of Lacaune sheep looked? Known as a dairy sheep, despite its utilitarian attributes, the Lacaune is an elegant-looking creature with a proud demeanour. Its elongated head, arched profile, and slightly rounded snout gives a dignified appearance, while its lack of horns and pendulous, floppy ears adds a certain cuteness!
If you’d like more detail about the making of Errington Cheese, take a look at their excellent website www.erringtoncheese.co.uk