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Working in Cheese – The Production Manager

We’ve teamed up with our Patron Sharpham Dairy for the next installment of our ‘Working in Cheese’ series, taking a close look at the role of Production Manager. Sharpham Dairy recently celebrated 40 years of cheesemaking on the Sharpham estate overlooking the River Dart in South Devon. The team at Sharpham hand make a range of award winning cheeses, including Ticklemore Goats cheese, Sharpham Brie plus the brand new and innovative Sharpham Rustic with Dulse and Sea Lettuce.

About Peter Haworth

Meet Peter Haworth, Production Manager for Sharpham Cheese. Peter’ role is diverse, involving all aspects of the cheesemaking process from the addition of the starter cultures through to the despatch of the final cheese to their customers.

If you get the chance to work in the cheese industry I would say jump at the opportunity

Q&A with Production Manager Peter Haworth

I’ve been working in cheese for … almost one year

My first job in the cheese world was… my current role at Sharpham Partnership LTD

My current job title is Production Manager and in my role I’m responsible for … overseeing production of all the cheese from quantities of milk to be ordered, right through to the cheeses leaving the door to our customers.

A typical work day involves … First thing through the door is to get our cultures weighed for the days production. I then run through the order of events for the day so we all know what’s going on and what we’re making. Then I’ll move onto what orders we have and what we need to have ready to leave on that day or the following day.

We like to keep our semi hard cheeses in our maturing room as long as we can to ensure  that they’re in the best condition when they leave us, so everything is wrapped to order on a daily basis. I will then head back to the make room in time to mould the cheeses, I take personal charge of moulding the Elmhirst and Cremet, a skill that has been passed on to me by Debbie Mumford. Then I’ll oversee the rest of moulding before heading back to our finished cheeses and checking the orders before they leave us.

My favourite part of my job is … Going to check on the finished cheeses in our maturing room, being able to see and feel that all of the hard work the team puts in on a daily basis to produce a room full of consistent delicious cheese.

In my career I’m most proud of … The thing I’m most proud of is taking the leap into the unknown and taking the job at Sharpham. It was a company and brand I’d long been familiar with, having been working in the hospitality industry for most of my life. Trying to fill the boots of Debbie Mumford who had built Sharpham over the last 30 years was a huge task, but her tutorship and incredible knowledge of the cheese they produce helped my get my feet on the ground and me on my way. The team at Sharpham have welcomed me in and we’ve worked together to become a tight team all while empowering each other to learn new skills.

The worst part of my job is … Wellington boots all day on a hot summers day!

My advice for someone wanting to work in the cheese industry would be … If you get the chance to work in the cheese industry I would say jump at the opportunity. Everyone I’ve met, from the Dairy technicians, the farmers that supply our milk, other cheesemakers and cheesemongers in the cheese industry is fanatically welcoming and can chew anyone’s ear off for hours about cheese and why they love it. It’s very much an industry driven by the passion of the people involved.

I studied with Academy of Cheese because … It was a great starting point to learn all about the world of cheese, from entry level events and courses to far more detailed information, it’s a great resource to have access to.

My favourite thing about Academy of Cheese is … The ease of access to knowledge and other people within the industry.

I see the future of the cheese industry as … Hopefully very very bright. We have had some big struggles with the challenges we have all faced this year but through it all people have kept on eating cheese. With a focus on quality and people wanting to enjoy their favourite cheeses at home, I think we have reached a turning point where people looking for the best cheese will look at what is produced domestically or locally before looking further afield. There are some truly incredible cheeses produced all over the U.K. and I just hope I’m doing my part to produce some of them.

My favourite cheese is … and I like to enjoy it with … I think this is an unfair question, it depends what mood I’m in, what the weather is like and what I’m drinking!

My ideal cheeseboard will definitely include … A piece of Sharpham Elmhirst ripe to the point of where it’s almost liquid. Some people really enjoy this cheese while it is still young and fresh, but I think that there is character which develops just at the tipping point of being over ripe where the acidity and added double cream make something really special.

Naked Elmhirst cheese on board
Sharpham Elmhirst, a triple cream cheese similar to Vignotte

A bit thanks to our Patron Sharpham Cheese You can learn more about their cheese over in our cheese library.

Sharpham Dairy Patron