Cathy and Kelvin Haigh established The Cheese Barn in Matatoki south of Thames in 1998.
Kelvin is the principal cheesemaker and Cathy runs the business side with a small team helping out with dispatch.
Happy and healthy cows and a sustainable approach to production define The Cheese Barn way. The milk comes from the Organic Milk Hub with the main supplier being Raymond Ridings who runs Ayrshires in Kerepehi, an organic certified farm that has been in the family since 1972. Over winter they source milk from other members of the Hub. It’s all grass-based, and the cows are not fed grains (meaning their cheese are suitable for those on Paleo diets). The hay and silage also come from the farm ensuring organic integrity is maintained.
Breeding is old school natural, and the bulls (which live on the farm year round) and cows are all given names as well as numbers. They are part of this family business too.
Their factory is certified organic through BioGro. They do not use artificial additives, growth hormones, antibiotics, or GMO. Their cheeses are unhomogenised and gluten free.
They have won a huge number of awards across a range of cheeses, including repeatedly for their flavoured cheeses like feta with rosemary. They have one of the widest selections you’ll find, including Dutch, French, Italian, and Greek. Judges have recognised how their cheeses capture all the characteristics of traditional styles whilst staying true to their vision of a simple and natural approach to cheesemaking.
Cathy and Kelvin’s entrepreneurial spirit has led them to run a café, gift shop and kids zoo on site. They may not milk them for cheese, but the alpacas, rabbits, sheep, guinea pigs, and assorted birds certainly add some family fun to the cheese tasting. They are on the Hauraki Cycle Trail and have developed their business into a highly-regarded tourist attraction, but doubtless the chance to watch some cheese being made remains the most compelling attraction.