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A Simple Guide to Understanding Organic Cheeses

A Simple Guide to Understanding Organic Cheeses

Why is Understanding Organic Cheeses Important?

As a cheese company, one of our most frequently asked questions is: do you sell any Organic cheese?

The answer is: yes! But not as many as we used to.

Understanding Organic cheeses is crucial as the market for these products grows, but creating Organic products is not feasible for many producers. We will walk you through the ins and outs of understanding organic cheeses and organic certification, and introduce some of the Organic ranges that you can find here at the Cheese Society.

Organic Certification: What It Means for Cheeses?

An organic cheese is a cheese which has been “Certified Organic” by the Soil Association, or a similar body. You may be familiar with the Soil Association logo from supermarket products:

Understanding organic cheese - certification

Organic cheeses must be made with Organic milk that comes from Organic animals, raised on Organic farms. They are typically considered to be more environmentally friendly and better for animal welfare. There is also an idea that Organic cheeses are better for your health, though this is a divided opinion.

How does a Farmer or Cheesemaker become Certified Organic?

Once farmers and cheesemakers have applied for Organic certification, they will receive regular inspections to ensure they are operating under Organic production methods. The Organic Certification has a variety of very specific requirements, which make up a huge document (I know, I’ve read it!).

To give you a taste of what producers are dealing with, here are three examples of criteria for Organic Certification:

  1. Dairy cows must be fed a grass-rich diet of at least 60% roughage.

Organic dairy has on average a 20% lower yield than non-organic dairy, due to the feed of the cows.  This, combined with the increasing price of organic animal feed, has driven many producers out of organics.

  1. Livestock grazing land must not have been treated with unauthorised products in the past three years.

This can include artificial pesticides and may also stretch to neighbouring fields. So, if a cow is grazing on a field next door to a farm which does not use Organic pesticides, the milk may not qualify to be certified Organic.

  1. Additional ingredients in dairy products must also be from Organic sources.

Additions to cheeses such as chillies, herbs, spices, and fruits must also be farmed organically. This is why we tend to see a lot of Organic cheddar and farmhouse cheeses, as they have simpler recipes and do not need to source other Organic ingredients, which can be costly and difficult to find.

It’s easy to see how the strict Organic criteria can cost producers out of making Organic cheeses, which is why it is so important for us to support the remaining Organic cheese producers.

I hope this short guide to understanding organic cheeses has helped you.

Look below for some of our Organic range that can be bought online and in-store at The Cheese Society.

Our Organic Cheeses

Godminster Vintage Organic Cheddar

Godminster’s Vintage Organic Cheddar cheese is made from a traditional 90-year-old recipe and matured for up to 12 months. It is a firm-pressed cheddar with a smooth texture and a rich, mellow, extremely creamy flavour that lingers on the tongue. Godminster Vintage Organic Cheddar is distinctive in appearance thanks to its burgundy wax. The creaminess of the cheese means it can be scooped out of the rind or sliced as normal.

Godminster Organic Cheddar


Gorwydd Caerphilly

Gorwydd Caerphilly is made following a traditional recipe and working the curds by hand, the cheeses are usually matured for a minimum of three to four months (which is longer than most caerphillys) to give a wonderfully deep flavour that is yet still fresh and clean tasting with slight citrus notes, combined with a surprisingly creamy, moist texture. This excellent cheese has deservedly won several prestigious cheese awards. Click to see where GORWYDD CAERPHILLY is made.

Organic Gorwydd Caerphilly


Pitchfork Cheddar

From Maugan Trethowan and his wife Kim Trethowan, the makers of Gorwydd Caerphilly, comes Pitchfork Cheddar, whose name refers to the old farming tools used to toss the curd while mixing in the salt. This is a practice the Trethowans have since resurrected, imbuing their new-old cheddar with romance and history. Full-bodied, nutty, and sweet with a creamy texture that lingers on the palate.

Organic Pitchfork Cheddar


These Organic cheeses are old-standing favourites at The Cheese Society but watch this space for some new Organic varieties coming very soon!

If there are any Organic cheeses that you would love us to stock, let us know by emailing [email protected].

Happy Cheesing!