Two Minute Tuesdays
We love Yorkshire. The people, the places, the food, the drink, you name it! To celebrate this great county, over the next few weeks we’ll be providing you with some snapshots of some of our favourite local craftspeople, innovators, and businesses.
First up we have Andy Swinscoe from the Courtyard Dairy in Austwick.
The Courtyard Dairy was set up 2012, and soon became one of Britain’s most renowned cheese shops. It specialises in rare unpasteurised cheeses that are still made on the farm.
Andy, Courtyard Dairy
Austwick, North Yorkshire
1. So, first things first, what inspired you to set up your business?
I worked in fine dining. We had a great cheeseboard (mainly French) so I contacted our French supplier to go over and learn a bit more, I then never left. A 6-month apprenticeship in France was followed by roles as a cheesemonger in London and buyer/quality manager in Bath before we set out on our own.
2. What’s been your proudest moment so far?
For me it is always when we get feedback from the farms we work with. When they give us good compliments and say how important we are to their farm and business it makes it all feel worthwhile.
3. What motivates you most?
I’d like to look back and say that I made a real difference to the farmhouse cheese industry in Britain and to keep raw, farm-made cheese alive. Do you know there are only two raw-milk cheese-makers in Yorkshire making cheese with milk from their own farm? We need more of that. There used to be thousands!
4. Any advice to aspiring craftspeople and business owners out there?
Do a lot of research, visit a lot of people and talk to them. But at some stage you have to take the plunge. It will never be the fully perfect time.
5. What are your top tastes of Yorkshire?
I love a proper Yorkshire fishcake from the chippy – layers of potato, fish and potato all battered. Best served after a cold football match with a cup of hot tea.
6. Anything coming up that people should know about?
We’re about to do a series of in-depth videos with farmers and producers to really get more to the depth of where your food comes from and issues in the industry. I am excited about that.
7. What’s your favourite Yorkshire hidden gem?
Middlesmoor – it is so beautiful up there…
8. What’s your top pick for a Sunday dinner?
Hellifield Highland Beef, rib – with bone in. Can’t be beaten.
9. Who’s your Yorkshire hero?
Kit Calvert. He is best remembered for keeping farming, dairying and cheesemaking alive in the Dales. But at the heart of all endeavours was the ethos to keep his rural town and community a good place to live – keeping alive Wensleydale cheese sprung out of that – but he donated hundreds of books to local schools, built Hawes’s first playpark, fought against big business bullying tactics, championed and promoted local dialect so it didn’t die out, etc. If you ever get the chance you must read his autobiography.
10. Favourite Yorkshire word or saying?
Nesh. Great word. I always moan about people being ‘nesh’ when they moan about the cold in the shop!
11. Best thing to come out of Yorkshire?
Fruitcake and cheese. Obviously. So far we’ve traced it back as far as 1871 in Nidderdale.
12. You’re stranded on a desert island and can only bring one meal, one book, and one album. What do you choose?
Meal wise: rib of beef as above, but that is a tough decision.
Book: John Steinbeck - Tortilla Flat. It’s only short but it makes me laugh.
Album: Oasis, Definitely Maybe. Brilliant all the way through.
Want to know more? You can find Courtyard Dairy on the web (www.thecourtyarddairy.co.uk), on Facebook (facebook.com/TheCourtyardDairy), Instagram (@thecourtyarddairy) and on Twitter (@CourtyardDairy).