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St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company

Falside Farm Anstruther Fife KY10 2RT

A shining example of Scotland's new wave of small-scale cheese producer in Fife. The St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company is run by the Stewart family, who have farmed at Falside for over 50 years, with dairy production always central to the business. Farmer’s daughter Jane Stewart took it upon herself to learn the art of cheese making from scratch, utilising the unpasteurised milk from husband Robert’s herd of homebred Holstein Friesian cows. Turning to cheese was no cynical business decision for Jane Stewart: ‘My husband and I have always loved cheese, so our interest in it comes from a genuine passion. I saw that no one else in Fife was making cheese from their own herd so thought I’d take a stab and see what we could come up with’. Jane Stewart took a short cheese-making course, followed by a fact-finding trip to Wales and the southwest England, where many of Britain’s artisan farmhouse cheeses are made. She admits to being heavily influenced by Leon Downey, who she describes as ‘a true perfectionist, who has made fantastic, award-winning cheese in Wales for 30 years’. Inspired by Downey and what she had witnessed she returned north to set-up her own operation. The first ‘Anster’ cheese was produced in 2008 and production has since continued apace three days a week ever since. The Anster uses only traditional natural rennet to set the milk and the curd is unusually also milled through a traditional peg mill, helping lend the final product its distinctive crumbly texture. During maturation nature is again allowed to do her work, adding a thin, grey rind that enhances the flavour and helps to protect the creamy white cheese. 

Anster cheese is now available in farm shops and delis around the country, as well as local restaurants such as the Michelin starred Peat Inn., and the Stewarts have built a a brand-new building to house their Cheese Dairy, complete with a Viewing Gallery and on-site Butterpat Coffee Shop, where you can enjoy their cheese with a glass of wine and homemade scones. Fittingly the Butterpat enjoys a sweeping view from the Stewarts’ farm, stretching out over the fertile Fife countryside towards the Firth of Forth and far beyond.

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