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Exploring Cheddar Country

Keen's Traditional Farmhouse Cheddar

Narrow winding lanes are what this part of the English countryside is all about.

Driving from my home town of Maidenhead along the M4, we stopped off in Bath - a truly lovely city, steeped in millennia of history. The shops and high streets are still as I remember them, but the hot baths have definitely had an tourist-driven upgrade since I was there last. Very fancy.

It was after our stop in Bath, that we dove into the country roads that were to lead us to Wincanton and the nearby fields where Moorehayes Farm is located, and the Keen's Family Cheddar making creamery. I knew that things would be different from the roads of excess that one finds in the United Sates - even in my adopted city of Boston. The side roads found in neighbourhoods in the US would be sufficient for major arteries in other countries, and the roads we were driving on now would be nothing more than suitable for bicycle traffic. Glad I rented a Fiat Cinquecento!

Surprisingly after only one missed turn, we arrive at the farm, and how beautiful it is. Nestled in rolling hills and patchwork fields and blanketed by the sounds of the English countryside — quintessentially West country.

We had arranged to meet George Keen for a tour of his farm and cheesemaking facility, and thankfully he had just finished lunching in his ancient farmhouse. The farm and cheesemaking has been a multiple generational activity since 1899. George is still the head, but James, his son, returned from university to carry on the tradition.

After brief introductions we started our tour - first cheesemaking.