Ralph Haslam has been farming at Mossfield Farm, near Birr, since 1970, converting to organic in 1999.
Although only producing their organic gouda style cheeses since 2005, they were soon winning awards, with early successes including both gold and silver at the World Cheese Awards, Great Taste Awards (Gold and Silver) and also an Irish Food Writers’ Guild Award in 2007, and there have been many more since.
Like many of the best cheeses, the Mossfield range is made with milk produced on limestone soil, and organic production allows a wider range of grasses and herbs to flourish and add flavour; five gouda style cheeses are currently produced [Mossfield (young and mature); flavoured young Mossfield (tomato & herbs; garlic & basil; cumin)] and the newer Mossfield Slieve Bloom (mild creamy cheddar style).
All are excellent, the most admired being a deeply-flavoured mature plain cheese which is at least eight months old when released to their own shop in Birr town (see entry) and good speciality stores (a list of stockists is given on their website).
Until they got the urge to make cheese, all of the milk from their herd of 80 Friesians went to Glenisk (see entry); now Ralf and Lorraine Haslam and their son Jonathan are all involved in the production and selling of this range of wonderful cheeses. However, anyone who has been fortunate enough to sample a plain Mossfield cheese matured for a year will know that that’s the one real cheese lovers get excited about.
They now also sell natural non-homogenised bottled milk, buttermilk and yoghurt, all using the milk from their own cows.