A tribute to Mary Holbrook
It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Mary Holbrook, the maker of the incomparable Tymsboro cheese, who passed away at the weekend.
She died at home on Sunday, at her beautiful farm on the hill, in Somerset, where she has worked tirelessly over decades to establish and maintain her world-class reputation.
Mary has had an impact on a staggering amount of people in the artisan cheese industry in the UK and beyond. She welcomed trainees, visitors and transient workers to come to Sleight farm and learn, work and contribute to the cheese making and the farm; people from customers like ourselves, other cheesemakers and the wider food community. Never shy to let people see her process and learn from her techniques, safe in the knowledge that no-one could recreate the exceptional terroir of her Somerset hilltop. Our Technical Manager, Martin, had the privilege to work for Mary for two years and learned a huge amount from her. He says "The way she made cheese was unique in my experience. Despite her immense intellectual capacity, she would never over-analyse the process. Making cheese instead by instinct and intuition. The pH meter was a forbidden item in her cheese room. If you couldn’t do it by taste, touch and smell, then you weren’t a proper cheesemaker!"
She will be sorely missed across our industry and certainly never forgotten by any who met her.