Milk curds, the stuff of cheese
“You need to be a bit mad to make cheese.”
So says Hans Wieland of The Organic Centre in Rossinver, Co. Leitrim.
I do believe that he counts himself in this. When he and his wife Gaby started making cheese from the milk of their own goats over 20 years ago, they built a kitchen for their cheese making before they built a house for themselves.
I learned this and a lot more besides when I headed to Leitrim last weekend to attend a hugely instructive cheese making course run by Hans and Gaby, during which we were taken through the processes of making both hard and soft cheeses and given an insight into the practicalities of small-scale commercial cheese production.
Can it really be a year since my first, momentous Potato Day experience? A whole year since I travelled the picturesque byways of Leitrim to the annual celebration of the
humble noble tuber at the Organic Centre in Rossinver? Apparently, yes, it was time to pack my bags and head west again.
Old Irish Lazy Beds: potatoes planted on the ground and covered with sods sliced from either side
The event makes for a worthwhile excursion if you are of a mind to plant potatoes or are generally interested in the how of spuds. They had around 20 varieties of seed potato on sale, advice for gardeners on dealing with the curse that is potato blight, demonstrations of old-style lazy bed planting, a potato-heavy menu at their cafe and, of course, the irrepressible Dave Langford with his collection of heritage potatoes. 100+ of his varieties were on display, along with a new and absorbing addition…
Before I get started, I should say that the following is really only going to be of interest to the Spud readership in Ireland. Just sayin’, so don’t say I didn’t tell you so. I’m newly arrived back in the ol’ sod and thought, after all that gallivanting, that the locals should get a bit of my attention.
[Watches as the foreign readers remain undecided as to whether to stay and gradually start shuffling away]
The other thing to note is that this will mainly be of interest to those who fancy putting on the gardening gloves and growing their own french beans.
[More hesitation as possessors of non-green-coloured-fingers hover same over their back buttons]
It may also be of some interest if you like yoghurt.
[...a few hardy souls left]
Now, for all you Irish-based, french-bean-growing yoghurt lovers, here’s the deal.