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Happy birthday to us! Cheese all round?

Updated: Jun 21, 2021

And just like that Cheese on Towcest’ is a year old, hurrah!

Mark Rodgers Celebrating 1 Year of Cheese on Towcest
Celebrating 1 Year of Cheese on Towcest

It has certainly been a year to remember with lots of lessons learned and plenty of decisions to make along the way.

Forgive me if I have chewed your ear off already with the story of how it all began – or if you’ve heard the various mentions (thanks mainly to the lovely Bernie Keith) on BBC Radio Northampton, but I wanted to start off by bringing you, our lovely readers and website visitors, up to speed.

Cheese on Towcest’ was ‘born’ in summer 2020 – but that’s not where it all started.

You see for me, and for those who know me, this won’t come as a shock, cheese has always been my happy place. I get far too excited when I discover a new cheese or hear about a different way of making a certain cheese – I just can’t help it!

Cheese is my go-to comfort food (I mean, what’s more comforting than a slab of the good stuff or melted on toast?) and it’s the food I love sharing with others, cheese and wine night anyone?!

My obsession started whey (sorry, couldn’t help it) back when I was in secondary school; a geography lesson about local geology which linked to the creation of cheese lairs in underground caves leading to the discovery of blue veins in cheese in the south of France, of course the French had to be all over that, didn’t they? It culminated in our teacher bringing in a wedge of Roquefort for the class to taste and that was it – I was hooked.

Fast forward 25 years or so, not wanting to give my age away just yet, and here I am running my own “homage to fromage”.

How lucky am I? Cheese has been a constant love affair for me over the years, there is just something about it that keeps me coming back for more – anyone else always opt for the cheeseboard over a sweet dessert? Soft creamy morsels of a Cornish Brie, the crumbly unfathomable beauty of Cheshire (the place of my birth) or the melt in your mouth tang of a fresh blue, I love them all.

Even as I write this, I am half hoping we have cheese for dinner again tonight.

Back to the blog, Mark… how has my love of cheese led to Cheese on Towcest’ I hear you wondering? I was placed on furlough from my job during the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. After keeping myself busy with a mega list of DIY jobs around our new home, I had a desire to be useful in other ways. I applied to be a covid volunteer and was not needed. Then I read a BBC report about farmers ditching excess milk due to reduced demand and cheesemakers struggling to move and often spoiling cheese that was past its best.

Bingo, I could do what I could to support the cheesemakers.

I started to look around and had several conversations with cheesemakers I already knew and found that many were facing tough times. It struck me as a bit of a one-man mission to do what I could to save the world (of cheese at least). Smaller cheesemakers seemed to rely on local hospitality rather than the national network of distributors and wholesalers, but this was all about to change.

I registered the name Cheese on Towcest’ with the council, did a heck of a lot of market research and found there was a bit of a gap for local cheese delivery boxes. I spent much of my time exploring the market of wholesalers and makers, price points, packaging and everything else in between and was like a kid in a sweet shop at the idea of setting up my very own cheese company.

Cheese On Towcest First Market Stall In Towcester
My First Ever Market Stall in Towcester

I was not expecting what happened next…a few minutes after the website and social media went ‘live’ on 22nd June 2020 it all kicked off, in a good way. I had literally hundreds of messages from people eager to place orders, pre-orders and even wanting to collect cheese straight away – there was clearly a demand.

Over the last 12 months it has grown and grown and I have delivered cheese boxes all over the county of Northamptonshire to houses, flats, tents, campervans and even narrowboats, across the borders of Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire and more recently started to send cheese by courier outside of the area – even to Scotland and Wales.

Cheese on Towcest'  Cheese Box
The 1st ever Cheese Box - so exciting delivering across the county!

The response has been amazing and I am so grateful for the support from friends, family, former colleagues and of course – our amazing customers. Without you, and your belief, we wouldn’t be where we are now – a year in and going from strength to strength. So thank you for brie-lieving in me (sorry, again, couldn’t help myself).

Mark Rodgers Cheese on Towcest'
In my happy place preparing cheese deliveries!

As well as delivering the monthly cheese boxes – July’s is available now and is a stonker if I do say so myself - you will also find us (well, me) at several local markets and events selling cheese to the public. We have been asked to provide cheese for several happy couples on their big day and so as the business grows it is important that we grow too, each day learning something new.

We’ve been super busy over the past few months especially, with the creation of a new shiny website to better service our customers. I’m so excited also that we’re launching a subscription service, something many of you have been asking about since pretty much day one.

It has certainly been a year to remember with lots of lessons learned and plenty of decisions to make along the way.

Mark Rodgers Cheese on Towcest
Plenty of cheesy grins over the past 12 months!

There’ll be plenty more to come in the weeks and months ahead but for now, I hope you like the new website and offers – as always, I’d love your feedback – whatever it is – that’s how I’ve been able to grow and adapt. Plus, I’m a massive chatterbox and love speaking to you all.

If you want to be kept in the loop on what we have coming up and all things cheese-related, you can now sign up to our new cheesy newsletter too. Until next time, thank you for being part of this journey with me and here’s to more cheesy times ahead!

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