The Changing Seasons of Cheese

A question that I am often asked is: “Do the seasons affect the cheeses that you make?”

The answer is yes but not as significantly as I hoped it would.  The variations that we experience between batches of cheese are quite subtle, perhaps something only a cheese maker would notice: the cheese is a softer or firmer or we get a bit less or a bit more than last time.

In the Victorian Goldfields we don’t have the same extremes of weather that many parts of Europe experience.  For example, in some areas of France and Switzerland the dairy herds are kept in barns during the long cold winters and then taken to high mountain pastures to graze in the warm summer months.  Milk produced by cows grazing in a barn is notably different milk produced by pasture grazed cows.  Our local dairy herds are able to stay outside on pasture all year round and with well managed pastures the milk flavour is pretty consistent.

Generally speaking we make each batch of cheese once a month, we do not standardize our milk (how it comes out of the cows is how it goes into the cheese) so there is some minor natural variation in our cheeses.  Since we last made that batch of that cheese the sun has moved a little closer to or little further from the tropic of Capricorn, we have had a little more rain or little less rain, the weather has been little hotter or little cooler, the pastures have a little more or little less lush grass. You get the idea, all the changes are little.