Cheese: Lincolnshire Poacher
Producer: Ulceby Grange Farm
Where: Alford, Lincolnshire, England
Brothers Simon and Tim Jones of Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese are certifiable cheese nuts whose web pages are brimming with enthusiasm and idealism. They run their place on wind and solar, heat their milk with straw pellets and even pump heat out of the ground. And we’re not even talking about the cows yet. Their 230 Holstein Frisians munch on food that is largely grown on the farm, a family operation since 1917 (they also have a few Ayrshire cows – that’s a Scottish breed, but they blend right in because they look like red Holsteins, pretty much). As the Joneses do not use pesti- and other cides, the cows live among happy healthy bugs and critters of all kinds. Their farm sits 7 miles or so away from the North Sea near the town of Alford, which has a windmill with five sails as its claim to fame. A very disturbing sight for a Dutchman. Anyone who knows something about windmills understands that more than four sails is just wrong, and in England apparently that are some mills that even have six sails. One needn’t wonder why the Empire couldn’t last.
The piece of Lincolnshire Poacher I had was relatively young, had a fresh clean taste and a beautiful yellow color. I liked it a lot, but I will be looking out for their more mature cheese, because I believe that there is more flavor and goodness to be had with age. Some of it is aged over 3 years. You can listen to Simon Jones explain this and more on a beautiful little video; their website is also a treasure trove of information, photos of happy cows and of the assistant cheesemaker who apparently likes to play the trombone when he is not up to his elbows in curds.
The Lincolnshire Poacher is originally a traditional song that has been adopted as an anthem of sorts of Lincolnshire county. It is used as the official march of several military units. Benjamin Britten even arranged a version, but that one is for the dogs. Chris Sarjeant plays the tune in this video. It has crappy sound quality, but the crowd sings along and he picks a mean guitar.
When I was bound apprentice in famous Lincolnshire,
Full well I serv’d my master, for more than seven year,
Till I took up to poaching, as you shall quickly hear.
Oh, ’tis my delight on a shining night, in the season of the year.