A NEW farmhouse business will launch its first soft fromage during this year’s Yorkshire Dales Cheese Festival.

Sam Horton and Rachael Turner established their business Long Churn Cheese at The Courtyard Dairy, Austwick, last year.

However, the pair’s passion and enthusiasm for reviving the Dales tradition of using sheep for milk production will be evident during a one-day event within the festival, which runs from September 14 to 22 called “SHEEPtember”.

The day at The Courtyard Dairy will celebrate sheep dairying and will introduce visitors to Long Churn’s first soft cheeses. These resemble a French goat’s cheese but will be produced using milk from a small flock of dairy sheep called Lacaune.

Together with sheepdog and sheep milking demonstrations, the Courtyard Dairy’s owner Andy Swinscoe will show visitors how to pair cheese with beers from Lamb Brewery at Littondale. Visitors will also be treated to caving tours by Yorkshire Dales Guides to the aptly named Long Churn caves, where they will be taken through the most famous ‘squeeze’ in the Dales, the Cheese Press.

Meanwhile at The Wensleydale Creamery at Hawes, festival-goers will be able to become connoisseurs by booking onto one of several masterclasses involving a host of local producers and other food businesses during the first weekend.

The artisan masterclass will bring together local cheesemakers and experts from the creamery to share the unique qualities of a vast array of different cheeses and processes, while the Yorkshire Dales Distillery will share how to pair cheese with gin.

Food stalls, cookery demonstrations and live music will complete the festival atmosphere.

Foodies can then spend a further week savouring the national park’s hamper of delights as cafés, farms, shops, restaurants and attractions join in the celebration of Yorkshire Dales produce. Farm tours, special menus, food tastings, and even a fell run following a route designed in the shape of a wedge of cheese are all planned.

New for this year, the festival finale, will be ‘The Final Bite’ held at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes. This will give visitors another chance to meet local cheesemakers and producers, and learn more about dairying heritage across the National Park, as well as take part in butter making and craft workshops.

More information including booking details for individual events can be found at: www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/cheese-festival.