The founder of the Glastonbury Festival is dedicated to grading cheese!

MANY Glastonbury Festival fans will have tried Worthy Farm Reserve Cheddar Cheese – released earlier this year.

But while many have an ulterior motive for their purchase – namely the chance to win festival tickets – someone particularly interested in making sure the cheese is up to standard recently verified production.

Michael Eavis was at Wyke Farms, which produces cheese from the milk of the Worthy Farm herd, to check out the process at the Bruton-based company’s ripening store.

The festival founder took on the role of cheese grader for the morning – sampling carrots taken from 20kg blocks of Worthy Farm Reserve cheddar, made from the milk of his dairy herd.

He was in good company with the master cheese leveler of Wyke Di Cox and Wyke Farms MD and the third generation cheese maker, Richard Clothier, in tow.

Ranking is a traditional method. A “cheese iron” is used to inspect a core extracted from cheddar cheese to test for odor and flavor.

The texture of the curd is also assessed – by breaking off a piece of the core and rubbing it between fingers to determine how the curd breaks down, which can be used to predict if or how long before the block is ready to go.

And while Mr. Eavis may have been new to the rankings, cheese making is in his family – his grandfather made Caerphilly cheese at Worthy Farm in the early part of the 20th century.

TRYING HIS HAND: Michael noting at Wyke Farms …

“About 100 years ago my grandfather decided to turn Worthy Farm milk into Caerphilly cheese,” he said.

“He got a good deal from the Welsh coal miners, bought the first truck around here and delivered it once a week to the coal pits.

“This profession made him quite rich and powerful. But the general strike of 1926 put an end to it all. He had to mortgage the farm and shut down the cheese production.

“He converted his AC car (equivalent to today’s Aston Martin) into a horse-drawn cart and called it ‘Dofunny’. weekly shopping in Glastonbury.

“Now 100 years later, after 50 years of recent festival history, Worthy Farm milk is again made into cheese by Wyke Farms and the best reserve cheddar selected for Worthy Farm packs – what a comeback!”

Cheddar Worthy Farm Reserve is now available exclusively at Co-op stores.

Jan G. Gilbert