Mike Pullin, director and shareholder of Barbers Farmhouse Cheesemakers Is deeply rooted in the county of Somerset.
Born and bred in Wells, Mike comes from a long line of dairy men. Having set up Ford Farm cheesemakers with his father in 1983, Mike went on to merge the business with Ashley Chase Estate in Dorset. The joint concern was then purchased by the Somerset-based Barbers group in 2010.
The Barbers group produce several West Country Farmhouse Cheddar brands including Barber's 1833 and Coastal Cheddar. Mike had an idea to revisit the original method of maturing traditional PDO cheddar cheese in the Mendips. A trial was set up in the Wookey Hole Caves and Wookey Hole Cave Aged Cheddar was born. The Wookey Hole Caves can now accommodate up to 500 tonnes of this best-selling cheddar annually.
Mike, along with the other directors at Barbers, is wholly committed to championing Somerset Farmhouse Cheddar not only in the rest of the UK but also globally.
Export is now a major part of the Barbers' business. The West Country Farmhouse Cheddars made at the Dairy in Ditcheat are matured for at least eighteen months up to two years. As the cheese matures until calcium lactate crystals begin to form - the key element that bestows giving this cheddar with its much sought after, characteristic crunch. But it's not only the UK market that has latched on to this burgeoning cheddar trend.
The USA is also consuming it in great volumes with several hundreds of tonnes of Coastal Cheddar now being shipped across the Atlantic every year.