Sunday, 13 December 2009

Pextenement Cheese Company in the news,

We've appeared in quite a few press articles over the past few weeks. Here are a number or links to the web versions if you're interested in reading more about us......

1) Independent on Sunday. General article about Todmorden's food self sufficiency.

2) Calderdale Means Business. Magazine article with a large section dedicated to us.

3) Todmorden News / Hebden Bridge Times article with reference to Pextenement Organic Cheese. Note, both articles are identical, but published in different newspapers.

Friday, 2 October 2009

East Lee Soft - is Tod's "Specialist Product"....

...according to Martin Wainwright of the Guardian!

Yep, that's right, our East Lee Soft cheese gets a mention in Martin's blog on The article stems from the Michael Portillo episode highlighted below in this blog.

For more details, read the Guardian blog at

* the East Lee Soft bit is right at the bottom of article !!

Friday, 18 September 2009

Oh dear, Michael Portillo missed out.....

It was a once in a lifetime chance for Mr Portillo to taste some of our East Lee Soft Cheese and he missed out by a matter of minutes (Jean had sold out as usual!). We'd delivered around 50 pieces the day before and they'd all gone by the time he got to the Crumbly Cheese stall.
For the full Todmorden News article, follow this link....

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Pextenement and Costermonger join forces....

It's been more than 20 years but Carl and Chris (from Costermonger) have once again joined forces, this time to sell Pextenement East Lee Soft Cheese!

This is how they looked all those years ago (excuse the old photographs!)......

** Carl is on the left, Chris on the right!! Not changed much!
You never know, they might be dusting the guitars off again soon......

Saturday, 15 August 2009

East Lee Soft Cheese has now been launched....

We finally got there today with the launch of our first cheese - East Lee Soft cheese!

It's not been easy! It's taken 12 months hard work, working with 58 suppliers (who've benefited to the tune of 110 invoices!) and numerous council departments, agencies and organisations. But it's good now to finally see the cheese being bought by the public of Todmorden.

This week has seen us create (and individually wrap!) hundreds of cheeses to simultaneously launch at the Crumbly Cheese stall in the indoor market and the Bear Wholefoods and Cafe. In addition, the Todmorden Vintner Bistro and Cherries Tea Room have now included the cheese on their menus.

Inbetween producing the cheese, we've been interviewed by the Todmorden News to coincide with the launch. To view the article, see

This is how the cheeses looked on the Crumbly Cheese stall. Andrew spent ages arranging them like this, it didn't last long......

Monday, 20 July 2009

It really is coming soon now....

After a hectic few weeks of Hazard Analysis and Environmental Health inspections we have finally been granted our Health Mark number - 'UK VE055 EC' - by the Calderdale Environmental Health team.
Pending the results of the laboratory tests, the launch of the Pextenement East Lee Soft Cheese will be planned this week, hopefully to take place in the next couple of weeks.
Watch this space for the details of the launch and where you can buy East Lee Soft Cheese.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

The building, before and after

Another comparison photo. This is the outside of the cheese premises, before the building work started and after completion:

I just spoke to Rita.....

In the first post of this blog, I mentioned a book called 'Cheesecraft', here it is...

It was written in the '80s by Rita Ash, who by coincidence, I've just spoken to!!

I've been looking for a piece of machinery and was given the number of someone in Devon who's husband Alan makes bespoke cheese equipment - this turned out to be Rita!

Since that initial phone call Alan has built me a number of bespoke items, including this:


No matter how many times I mentioned the narrow road and 180 degree bend on my order, some carriers still insisted on sending large trucks!
The driver was pleased with himself when he got the truck up the road, but got stuck on the way down. It was a hot day and the truck got stuck on the bend with the wheels spinning in the molten tarmac.
After making the driver sweat for a while (his control room had noticed that he wasn't moving!), he was dragged out by a tractor!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

The building is taking shape....

Progress on the premises is going well. The ceiling, walls and floor are now in place. Here are some before and after pictures to show the extent of the work so far.....

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

"To make a million, start with $900,000"...

...or to be more precise, why not apply for a Rural Business Startup Grant. This is an initiative whereby European Union money is used to provide 40% funding for new businesses. It's administered by Yorkshire Forward and Business Link with Growing Routes helping out with the application and post approval support. It sounds so simple!

Roll on 4 months, one 60 plus page application form (including the 30 page Business Plan and evidence of dozens of other application criteria documentation), numerous phone calls to Debbie from Growing Routes, numerous emails to Phil from Business Link, and........

We finally got the grant approved at Christmas 2008!! Yipppppppppeeeeee! Now the work can start.

Only one slight snag, all contractors were on an extended Christmas holiday.

Oh well, it's mid-January then to start work.......

Special thanks to Debbie and Phil for assisting with getting this through in time for Christmas. There could have been further delays with the approval committee but this was avoided in the end.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

My name's not really dave....

dave just happens to be my anonymous blogger name that I've used to do this kind of thing for a few years now. My real name is actually Carl (so much for anonymity)!

I'm an ex-IT, bass guitar playing cheese enthusiast with a strange addiction to swimming. I'm also one of the four directors of the newly incorporated Pextenement Cheese Company Ltd. The other three being Sandra, Alan and Christine from Pextenement Farm.

Finding premises - Plan C it is then.....

Plan A - the initial idea for the premises was an old garage situated next to the milking parlour. Not completely ideal but it could have been altered for cheese making, the only problem being that it needed a new roof and the Environmental Health people appeared to have some reservations!

Bring on Plan B - Why don't we use a portakabin?! It sounded like a good idea, but whilst looking into various portakabin options, Plan C came along! Why don't we use the old dairy across at Pextenement Farm?

Plan C - Although a bit small, the location seemed more suited to conversion into a cheese making premises. Also, the building contains over 50 years worth of collected "treasure"......!!

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Time to make some time.

Whilst thinking about how to make the time to make some cheese, it suddenly struck me that the one single thing getting in the way of this was work! I worked in an IT department of a major UK bank and I realised that I was giving the vast majority of my time to the company (after all, that's what they paid me to do!).

"When will I see some of this cheese on Skipton Market......?!!"

.....said the boss one day as he sampled a piece! That was it - it was time to do something about it. The answer came in the form of the "career break" programme, which I started in July 2008 after 22 years of service!

Since leaving the company, it appears to have gone into freefall, eventually being swallowed up by another major UK bank! This gave me an extra incentive to succeed - when my career break comes to an end the company and my old department will look somewhat different to the one I left in 2008!

Friday, 13 March 2009

Where did it all come from ?

The book said "all you need is time, patience, and an endless supply of milk"!

The date was sometime in the mid-90s and the book in question was entitled 'Cheesecraft'. I picked it up in a monastry somewhere where the monks produced everything they needed. That got me thinking - I have patience, and I know where to get an almost endless supply of milk - all that was missing was the 'time' bit!

Wind forward about 10 years.... I purchased myself a Cheese making kit. The thing that struck me most was the fact that it hardly contained anything! Surely you must need more equipment to make cheese?! The simple fact is - you don't need much!, just good fresh milk and as mentioned, time and patience (and as I found out later an extreme attention to detail). What followed then for the next few months can only be described as extreme experimentation which produced numerous disasters but one or two successes.