Farmhouse cheesemakers across the country will be taking part in Bord Bia’s Free Farm Visits as part of the Discover Farmhouse Cheese programme.

This years programme will be operating from April to October and it is an opportunity for the public to visit their local farmhouse cheesemakers, Bord Bia says.

The Discover Farmhouse Cheese programme is an EU co-funded campaign organised by Bord Bia which aims to share some of the stories and people behind farmhouse cheese – why and how they do what they do.

Visitors to farmhouse cheesemakers will be able to experience first hand the story of farmhouse cheese from the dairy herd, the small batches and commitment to taste and quality and the cheesemaker’s dedication to making some of the finest artisan products, Bord Bia says.

There are a wide variety of farmhouse cheeses to choose from; with some taking years to reach perfect maturity, Bord Bia says.

Bord Bia says that a distinctive feature of farmhouse cheese produced in Ireland is that all farmhouse cheeses created here are unique to each producer.

It says that this is a characteristic which is markedly different to Europe where many farms produce the same cheese under strict guidelines to ensure consistent standards (e.g. Camembert).

Eimear O Donnell, Consumer Dairy Sector Manager with Bord Bia, said that the cheese revolution in Ireland has been steady and it has succeeded for a very simple reason.

The 50 farmhouse cheesemakers throughout the country who make the cheeses do so on their own farms, so the cheese speaks of their land, their milk, their labour, their passion.

“We would encourage people to go out and sample as many as they can, so they can find new ones to love – and what better way to do that, than to meet the producers and to try the product first hand,” she said.

Here are some the dates and locations for up-coming Free Farm Visits:

May 13 2015: 10:00am – 12:00pm at Cooleeney Farmhouse Cheese (Tipperary).

May 15 2015: 12:00pm – 2:00pm at Coolea Farmhouse Cheese (Cork).

June 10 2015: 12:00pm – 2:00pm at Bellingham Blue (Glyde Farm) Visit (Louth)

June 19 2015: 10:30am – 12:30pm  at Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers Visit (Tipperary)

A full list is available on the Discover Farmhouse Cheese website and farm visits are free to attend but you must book your place online.