The Tragic Death of Swaledale Cheesemaker Mandy Reed
I was extremely saddened to hear of the recent death of Mandy Reed, cheesemaker and owner of Swaledale Cheese Company in North Yorkshire, UK.
Mandy and her husband David, took over the production of Swaledale in 1987. At that time, the only producer left making traditional Swaledale was Mrs Longstaff of Harkerside above Reeth in Swaledale, who had retired from cheesemaking, effectively rendering Swaledale extinct.
The recipe was shrouded in mystery and had been handed down Mrs Longstaff’s family for generations. However, in November 1986 Mrs Longstaff gave the original recipe to David & Mandy Reed and, acting as chief taster, she helped them to re-establish an authentic Swaledale cheese.
The following year, David & Mandy set up The Swaledale Cheese Company and since then business has grown year on year. In 1995, Swaledale cheese (both the ewe's and cow's milk versions) were awarded name protected PDO status.
Tragically, David Reed died in 2005 at the age of 47, a turn of events that could easily have signaled the end of the company. However, Mandy recognising their joint achievements did not allow this to happen and, together with her children and a passionate work force, ploughed her energy into the company.
The company's cheeses have won many prizes, most recently including a Super Gold for Swaledale Blue at the 2011 World Cheese Awards. It took four medals at the British Cheese Awards last year for products including Old Peculier Swaledale, named after the distinctive 'winter warmer' beer produced by Theakston's brewery in Masham.
Mandy is survived by her two children Louise and Sam Reed who also work for Swaledale Cheese. Our thoughts are with them at this time.
Photo North News & Pictures