A group of 29 Kintyre dairy farmers have launched a bid, and associated crowd-funding campaign, to save Campbeltown Creamery, producers of the world-famous Mull of Kintyre cheddar.
Nestled on the southern tip of the Kintyre peninsula within a climate that ensures all year grass growth for the dairy herds which graze there, Campbeltown Creamery has been producing cheese, using the finest milk from the 29 farms in the area, since 1923 and making Mull of Kintyre cheddar since the 1970s.
This week, those 29 farms, all modern, committed and family-owned, have launched their campaign to purchase the creamery, and the Mull of Kintyre cheddar brand, from current owners First Milk. The group, the Mull of Kintyre Milk Supply Cooperative, will fund the purchase through use of a levy from every litre of milk produced, in addition to external funding which is currently being sought.
A key element of the funding package will be today’s launch of the crowdfunding campaign which seeks to raise £50,000 towards the purchase. The group is encouraging the local community, foodies, suppliers, customers, businesses and anyone with a love of cheese to contribute to the crowdfund – further information can be found at http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/mokcheddar
In 2018, First Milk (a British farmer-owned dairy co-operative) announced plans to sell Campbeltown Creamery as part of a move away from smaller-scale brands. This created an opportunity for a farmer-led buy-out, aimed at saving the creamery and securing its future and the positive impact it has upon the area.
The dairy farming sector in the Kintyre Peninsula and nearby Gigha contributes £3.2m per annum* to the local economy. In turn, when additional, upstream, impacts are considered, a further £2.55m is added. The dairy sector in the area provides 117 jobs directly on-farm and a further 49 indirectly across Kintyre.
Community buy-outs also play a major role in the Scottish Government agenda and the opportunity to contain milk production and cheese manufacturing within a small radius helps in the context of a low carbon society where communities are strengthened and become more resilient. The Scotland Food & Drink Ambition 2030 and its focus on brand, market development, people, skills, supply chain and innovation also highlights the importance of strengthening reputation around provenance and responsible growth in local areas.
Local dairy farmer, Thomas Cameron, said:
“We are currently facing a huge and exciting opportunity with a clear mission – to secure the future of the Campbeltown Creamery for the benefit of the Kintyre community. We will also be in a position to save a well-known brand and contribute to Scotland’s reputation as a Land of Food and Drink.
“Mull of Kintyre cheddar is said to be enhanced by the Angel’s Share of whisky that remains in the creamery building from its past life as a distillery. The multi award-winning cheese is made with milk that all comes from within a 15-mile radius and from farms that are committed to securing their land for future generations and to contributing to the local economy.
“Dairy farms in the area need the creamery in order to thrive and the creamery needs us! Given the challenges of sustaining a vibrant economy in this remote part of Scotland, the role of the dairy sector in Kintyre is fundamental to its success. Mull of Kintyre cheddar is made to a long-established recipe and it is its provenance as well as taste which is sought by buyers, including those from Tesco and Sainsbury, from across the UK.
“Our farmers are young, enthusiastic, committed to sustainability, investment and the next generation and have strong integrity – they are just the right group of people to secure this deal.
“We have produced a great video which shows just why the Campbeltown Creamery is so pivotal to the area and why Mull of Kintyre cheddar is so important to Scotland and I encourage everyone to please support us by heading to the crowdfund website and spreading the word.”