MANY Glastonbury Festival fans will have tried the Worthy Farm Reserve Cheddar cheese - released earlier this year.

But while many have an ulterior motive for their purchase - namely the chance to win tickets to the festival - one person with a particularly strong vested interest in making sure the cheese is up to standard checked out production recently.

Michael Eavis was at Wyke Farms, which produces the cheese using milk from the Worthy Farm herd, to check out the process at the Bruton-based firm's maturing store.

The festival founder undertook the role of cheese grader for the morning – sampling cores taken from 20kg blocks of Worthy Farm Reserve Cheddar, made using the milk from his dairy herd.

He was in good company with Wyke's master cheese grader Di Cox and Wyke Farms MD and third generation cheesemaker, Richard Clothier, in tow.

Grading is a traditional method. A ‘cheese iron’ is used to inspect an extracted core of the cheddar to test the smell and flavour.

The curd texture is also assessed – breaking off a piece of the core and rubbing it between the fingers to determine how the curd is breaking down, which can be used to predict if or how long until the block is ready to go.

And while Mr Eavis may have been new to grading, cheesemaking runs in his family – his grandfather was making Caerphilly cheese on Worthy Farm in the early part of the 20th century.

Bridgwater Mercury:
TRYING HIS HAND: Michael grading at Wyke Farms...

"About 100 years ago, my grandfather decided to make the milk at Worthy Farm into Caerphilly cheese," he said.

"He secured a good price from the Welsh coal miners, bought the first lorry around here and delivered it once a week to the coal pits.

"This trade made him quite rich and powerful. But the general strike in 1926 ended all of that. He had to mortgage the farm and close the cheese production down.

"He converted his AC car (equivalent to the Aston Martin of today) into a horse drawn cart and called it a ‘Dofunny.’ This vehicle took the kids to school and went on weekly shopping trips to Glastonbury.

"Now 100 years later, after 50 years of recent festival history, Worthy Farm milk is being made into cheese again by Wyke Farms and the finest reserve cheddar selected for Worthy Farm packs – what a comeback!"

Worthy Farm Reserve Cheddar is available now exclusively in Co-op stores.