Cartwheel Creamery is an artisan cheese-making company on a mission to make outstanding cheeses that reflect the natural goodness of our valley.
We believe that the very best cheese can only be made with high quality milk from healthy animals. We source our cow's milk from local dairy farmers, Ed and Karina Jackson. Our goat's milk comes directly from the Fraser's farm in Opiki. We also produce a range of very special cheese for Aran Farm using their A2 beta-casein milk.
Our unique cheeses are made using bespoke recipes that combine traditional, time-honoured methods with modern safe food practices.
In the beginning
The seeds of Cartwheel Creamery were sown back in 1996 when Adrian Walcroft attended a one-day cheesemaking course run by Catherine Mowbray. The timing wasn't good for such a venture, being a week before his wedding with Jill. However over the next year or so they dabbled with making sheep's milk cheese in the kitchen and loved it. A move to Manawatu for career advancement meant that the idea of commercial cheesemaking went on the back-burner.
Where we’re at now
Fast-forward about 16 years and the idea again came to the fore, and this time it stuck with the establishment of Cartwheel Creamery.
Located on our 12 hectare farm in the beautiful Pohangina Valley, the Creamery epitomises the "small is beautiful" philosophy, but with flexibility in mind for the future. Centre stage in the makeroom is a 400-litre batch pasteuriser/cheese vat, from which a range of soft cheeses and a creamy blue are produced along with feta and three varieties of halloumi. A farmhouse cheese is coming soon.
How we make our cheese
Of course there is a hefty volume of information and stories to tell about our cheese that can be found elsewhere but in a nutshell...
The Milk Story
We buy in the cow's milk from Ed and Karina Jackson because it's hard enough running the creamery without calving cows, milking and managing a herd. It is much better to leave the animal side to our friends who are passionate about dairy farming. Ed and Karina milk 200 cows. The cows are milked once-a-day and the benefits of this include better cow health (and therefore better milk quality), and less pressure on the land and people. We believe they are ‘conventional’ farmers who tread lightly on the land and manage their cows with care and integrity.
It's a short drive to the Jackson's Ashhurst farm for Ade, who fills a stainless steel tank on a trailer with fresh milk, then takes it straight home to the creamery.
It's a similar (but different) story for the goats' milk, in that Ade picks the milk up fresh from the Fraser's farm in Opiki. The Frasers manage a cut and carry system for 700 lively Saanen goats who are housed indoors.
The milk is pasteurised using a gentle batch process to ensure the maximum goodness of the raw milk is retained. Only cheese cultures, rennet and salt are added to the milk to produce young cheeses that naturally mature to develop a complex flavour profile that varies with the seasons. Our cheeses are released for sale when they are ready for consumption, and (just like a good woman) will continue to mature and improve as they age.