Cartwheel Creamery is an artisan cheese-making company on a mission to make outstanding cheeses that reflect the natural goodness of our valley.
We believe that the very best cheese can only be made with high quality milk from healthy animals. We source our cow's milk from local dairy farmers. Our goat's milk comes directly from a farm in Opiki.
Our unique cheeses are made using bespoke recipes that combine traditional, time-honoured methods with modern safe food practices.
The seeds of Cartwheel Creamery were sown back in 1996 when Adrian Walcroft attended a one-day cheesemaking course run by Catherine Mowbray. The timing wasn't good for such a venture, being a week before his wedding with Jill. However, after the honeymoon three polled dorset sheep were bought and over the next year or so they dabbled with making sheep's milk cheese in the kitchen and loved it. A move to Manawatu for career advancement meant that the idea of commercial cheesemaking went on the back-burner.
Fast-forward about 16 years and the idea again came to the fore, and this time it stuck with the establishment of Cartwheel Creamery in 2011.
Located on our 12 hectare farm in the beautiful Pohangina Valley, the Creamery epitomises the "small is beautiful" philosophy, but with flexibility in mind for the future. Centre stage in the make-room is a 400-litre batch pasteuriser/cheese vat, from which a range of soft cheeses, semi-hard and a creamy blue are produced along with feta and three varieties of halloumi.
Of course there is a hefty volume of information and stories to tell about our cheese that can be found elsewhere but in a nutshell...
We buy our cows' milk from local farmers because it's hard enough running the creamery without calving cows, milking and managing a herd. It is much better to leave the animal side to our friends who are passionate about dairy farming. It's a short drive up or down our valley for Ade, who fills a stainless steel tank on a trailer with fresh milk, then takes it straight home to the creamery to make cheese the very same day it was harvested.
We source a lot of our milk from Ian and Ali Passey. They run a small traditional third-generation dairy farm, where producing the best quality milk is their number one goal. They have a herd of Jersey Cross cows which is great for our soft and blue cheeses.
We source Freisan cow's milk from Stewart Dairylands rotary shed at Hiwinui and this milk is ideal for our semi-hard cheese range 'Epitome'.
Our winter milk comes from Steve and Mary Barr's main herd for Cartwheel Creamery Cheese. At Arran Farm, Steve and Mary also have a second smaller herd of cows who produce A2 beta-casein milk. We're proud to say we produce a range of speciality cheese especially for them using their A2 milk.
It's a similar (but different) story for the goats' milk, in that Ade picks the milk up fresh from the Fraser's farm in Opiki. The Frasers manage a cut and carry system for 700 lively Saanen goats who are housed indoors.
The milk is pasteurised using a gentle batch process to ensure the maximum goodness of the raw milk is retained. Only cheese cultures, rennet and salt are added to the milk to produce young cheeses that naturally mature to develop a complex flavour profile that varies with the seasons. Our cheeses are released for sale when they are ready for consumption, and (just like anything worth waiting for) will continue to mature and improve as they age.