Cheesemakers use EVs to achieve UK's first carbon neutral cheese
Winterdale Cheesemakers is now producing the UK's first carbon neutral cheese after the company chose to deliver its products using 100% electric vehicles.
Achieving this, the cheesemaker is now using the Nissan LEAF, the car manufacturers electric vehicle range, to deliver the cheeses to clients including Fortnum & Mason and a local vineyard.
In addition to a carbon neutral delivery service, the cheese is made using a process that minimises heat generation. The process begins by collecting milk that is transferred at body temperature to the cheese barn where the cheese production begins. By keeping the milk warm, no extra energy is required to start the process.
The milk, which cools to the required 32 degrees celsius, has 'starter culture, rennet and curd' added. It is then cut and cooked using energy created by the cheesemakers photovoltaic (PV) solar array next to the dairy and a ground source heat pump.
Once cooked, the cheese is placed into a mould and pressed for three days. It is then removed from the press and stored for 10 months in Winterdale's "cave-like cellar", which maintains a natural constant temperature of 12 degrees.
Winterdale's solar panels provide more than enough energy for its operations and the excess electricity generated is fed back to the National Grid and dispersed to local villages. According to the cheesemakers, this contribution more than outweighs the small amount of electricity the farm draws from the Grid on dark, winter days.
"We market our cheese within a range of only 30 miles surrounding our cheese dairy which just so happens to include London. Our cheese food miles are minimal," it said.
Winterdale owner Robin Betts, said: "We have been making sustainable cheeses for six years, but a totally carbon neutral product has not been possible until now.
"Using a 100% electric car powered by sustainable electricity is the final link in the chain to producing carbon neutral cheese."
He added: "We've been working tirelessly towards a greener future for the company and to produce delicious carbon neutral cheese. Although the processes have not always been easy, we believe our cheese demonstrates how you can eat great tasting but sustainable and eco-friendly food."