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Job Opportunity: Cheesemaker at Sleight Farm

Sleight Farm uses continental cheesemaking methods to produce its own range of lactic and rennet-set goats-milk cheeses developed by Mary Holbrook.  Mary achieved an international reputation for producing award-winning cheeses from her own herd of goats and we are working to continue that legacy.  We are looking for an experienced cheesemaker to work full-time and lead our small team of full and part-time staff.  The role will cover the lifespan of the cheese from setting the curd to ripening and maturing.  The role is available for immediate appointment.

The goats are milked following kidding in January/February until October/November each year.  Our cheesemaking follows the same cycle.  Initially, the role would last until the end of the cheesemaking season but with scope for renewal next year.  This would suit someone looking to work abroad or travel over the winter season.

Sleight Farm is located 6 miles from Bath and 10 miles from Bristol.  It is a hill-top farm, a mile outside of the village of Timsbury on the northern edge of the Mendip Hills.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview at the farm and to spend a half or full day cheesemaking.

We can offer:

  • The opportunity to be a part of Mary’s legacy and to learn from her methods and techniques;
  • A contract to October/November with a salary of £23,750 pro rata;
  • On-farm accommodation is available at no extra cost; and
  • Auto-enrolment pension with Nest.

Qualities required:

  • Commitment to producing raw-milk cheeses to exacting standards;
  • Ability to lead and inspire others;
  • Excellent palate to discern, in particular, the correct acidification and salting levels in the curds and cheeses;
  • Good observational skills and instincts; and
  • Good record-keeping.

Duties include:

  • Monitoring milk volumes and planning of cheese production as against volumes and orders;
  • Daily on-farm testing of milk and fortnightly despatch of samples for laboratory testing;
  • Setting curd, variously using whey and starter culture, cardoon and rennet;
  • Production of cheese from breaking of curd, hand ladling into moulds, pressing and turning out of moulds, salting and charcoaling and brining, where appropriate;
  • Daily turning and care of cheeses for ripening;
  • Keeping cheesemaking areas and equipment clean in accordance with our policies;
  • Washing of moulds, racks, mats and all other equipment;
  • Preparation of cheeses for delivery/collection, including wrapping, weighing and recording of despatched cheeses;
  • Monitoring of cheese and ripening room temperatures and stocks of consumable cheesemaking items/products;
  • Stock taking;
  • End of season clearing down of cheese-production areas;
  • In due course, day-to-day coordination of staff.

Interested candidates are invited to submit their expressions of interest, together with their CV and details of their availability or notice period to farmsleight@gmail.com, addressed to Catherine Ochiltree.

The deadline for applications is 23rd April 2019.

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