22 Nov 2020
Caerfai Farm – Producer of the Month
3 Aug 2020
The Evans family has run Caerfai Farm near St. Davids, Pembrokeshire, since 1929. Third-generation farmer Wyn Evans has been producing cheese for almost 25 years, using milk from the farm’s own grass-fed cows to create two tasty classics: Cheddar and Caerffili. We spoke to his daughter Linda, who runs the dairy today, to find out more.
What makes Caerfai Farm’s cheeses unique?
We’re one of the few cheesemakers in Wales who produce cheese using milk from our own cows. We currently have 16 milking cows of various breeds, including Norwegian Red, Brown Swiss and Montbéliarde. We have a closed herd, meaning that we don’t buy in other cows, which is also quite rare. I love that the process is so immediate – the milk is still in the cow at 6am, but by the end of the day, it’s cheese!
Our cows are grass-fed year-round, which makes for brilliant Cheddar. The best Cheddar is made in February and March when the grass is growing well, as it results in better milk yields and the high beta-carotene gives the cheese a good natural colour.
Dad was also a pioneer of eco-friendly farming practices. We’ve been certified organic since 1993 and our farm runs on 100% renewable energy. We’re a south-facing farm overlooking the ocean, so we have a steady supply of sunshine and wind, which helps. Dad even has electric farm vehicles now.
Tell us about your location – we know it’s pretty special.
It is! We overlook Caerfai Bay, a beautiful sandy cove surrounded by purple sandstone cliffs. Caerfai means ‘bay fort’ in Welsh – and you can still see evidence of the iron age fort on the nearby promontory. We’re also just a mile from St Davids, the smallest city in the UK. We run a campsite, farmshop and honesty box so visitors can try our cheese while enjoying the view.
What do you like to eat with Caerfai Farm cheese?
During lockdown I started making a lot of soda bread, which goes really well with Caerfai Caerffili. I found an old jar of homemade apple chutney and had an amazing open sandwich. With Cheddar I’m satisfied with a cheese biscuit.
How has coronavirus impacted you?
It’s all been a bit odd! All of a sudden, our wholesalers (who supply cafes, restaurants and delis) were out of action. But The Welsh Cheese Company has been a great help. We also tried to do a bit of Instagram promotion. We’re hopefully over the worst of it now. The trickiest part is constantly having to think in advance. Cheddar’s been OK as I make that from September to April, then leave it to mature – but Caerffli has a quicker turnaround time so requires more forethought.