Cheesy afternoon with Berkswell CE Primary School

pupils from BerkswellRam Hall Farm was awash with huge puddles as I made my way across to the milking parlour to meet the farmer Stephen Fletcher, chef Idris Caldora and Brian Hainsworth who works for the charity Farming and Countryside Education (FACE).

10 children from Berkswell CE Primary School were on a visit, accompanied by their class teacher Mr Penn and headteacher Tracy Drew. They were there to learn how ewes’ milk becomes the famous Berkswell cheese and to make some simple dishes with Idris, an award winning chef who has worked in many top restaurants and is now Executive Chef of the Adopt a School scheme.

We put on blue plastic hats and put bags on our feet to stop the spread of dirt and headed into the dairy to meet Lin Dutch, the cheesemaker and her team. We learnt about acidity, bacteria and germs, curds and whey and the wash needed to put a rind on a cheese. We sampled the whey and felt bags of cheese at different stage of production and marvelled at the cheese store which contains over 1500 cheeses at any one time.

The children then donned paper pinnies and a chef’s hat (small size) and under chef Caldero’s vigilant eye learnt to make Tomato Tarte and a Greek Salad which they took home with them.

They were joined by Meriden MP Caroline Spellman who turned out to be a good sport as well as a good cook as she pitched in and cooked alongside the children.

The event was organised by FACE