Eleven Irish organic dairy farmers have joined forces to launch a new company producing handmade organic cheese aimed at the domestic, British and European markets.
The Little Milk Company aims to sell €500,000 of cheddar cheese in Britain and Ireland in 2013, with further expansion plans for 2014 and beyond.
The 11 dairy farmers, who are based in Limerick, Tipperary, Cork, Carlow, Kildare and Wexford, already supply organic milk to Glenisk, predominantly during the winter months.
However, they have come together under the banner of the Irish Organic Milk Producers (IOMP) limited company to create organic cheese from their summer milk, which is produced more cheaply off grass.
Several tonnes of The Little Milk Company mature cheddar have already been matured at the Cheese Hub in Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim, and are ready to be launched.
Aimed at the premium end of the market, the cheese will retail at around €30/kg or €5-6 per block.
There are approximately 20 organic dairy farmers in Ireland, with an average milk quota of 65,000 gallons.
Organic milk price ranged from 36c/l in the summer of 2012 to upwards of 55c/l in the winter months.