Local cheesemaker nationally recognised

What began as a way of using up left over milk from a house cow has now become an award winning cheese.

Nearly ten years ago, Lyn Haycock of Glenbrook struck a friendship with neighbour Sue Cole, after helping milk her cow that was producing too much milk for Sue’s calves. Rather than letting the milk go to waste, Lyn and Sue began to make cheese through what she describes as trial and error.

Lyn grew up on a farm in Te Kuiti, where her family made their own soaps and bread, and only went into town for supplies once a month.

“The basics of making cheese was there, the rest has certainly been a learning curve,” she laughs.

Originally trained as a nurse, Lyn followed a career in the health sector, which saw her end up in clinical research and theatre work, an important aspect she believes has helped with her cheese making skills.

“You know, cheese making is 85 percent science, and the rest is knowledge. It is just so buzzy, the smell, the methods, I just love it.”

As her passion grew, so did the urge to make cheese full time.

“I thought, maybe I could do this? Maybe I could make cheese for a living? I had to convince the males in my life (husband and son) to then help build my cheese room,” laughs Lyn.

And so, the Glenbrook Cheese Company was born three years ago, and Lyn has recently given up her day job to pursue the art of cheese making.

“This is my third season officially certified, and own my A2 certified little herd, and cheese room made from a 40ft container on my property. Now, the males are working on building a three bay milking shed from another container. All good things take time.”

And that statement couldn’t be any more true, as Lyn’s Camembert cheese has just scooped a bronze award in the New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards.

Last year, Lyn entered the prestigious awards, which attracts hundreds of entries from reputable and artisan cheese makers from around the nation.

However, disheartened by the comments that the judges made on her Blue Stilton Cheese and yoghurt, Lyn wasn’t overly keen to enter them again the following year.

“But my family prevailed, and when I saw the envelope in the mail last week, I really didn’t want to open it. So my son opened it, and the next thing I know, these bronze stamps fell out!”

Lyn says hands down, her Camembert cheese is one of her favourites to make.

“My cheeses aren’t what you get in the supermarket. They are made traditionally, and with a lot of love. They may be misshapen, but the flavour is loud. It is a great feeling to be nationally recognised against the big players in such a huge market, and it certainly gives credibility in what I am doing.”

While Lyn says that her business is seasonal, she feels the wealth of doing something that she loves full time is worth it.

“Theoretically, I may be poor, but really, I am rich. I am following my passion, and isn’t that what life is meant to be about?”

Lyn Haycock of the Glenbrook Cheese Company with her award winning Camembert cheese.