Netherton Farm is part of the Duchy of Cornwall Estate and has been home to Mike and Margaret Horrell since the 1960s. The farm has always been principally a dairy farm and twenty years ago it was suggested by the Duchy Estate that the Horrells should consider adding value to their milk by making cheese. Mike and Margaret were introduced to two Welsh cheese-makers, Alan and Jenny Gray. The intention was to make a cheese with a Cornish character and Alan and Jenny set to work on a thirteenth century cheese recipe. A cheese somewhere between a cheddar and a Caerphilly was the result but with a distinctive nettle-leaf coating. A Cornish-sounding name was given to the cheese - 'Yarg'. This is in fact the makers' name 'Gray' spelt backwards but it possessed the Cornish feel that was needed.
Cornish Yarg is a moist cheese which tastes fresh and creamy with a gentle tang. The cheeses are matured for a minimum of three weeks but maturation can take up to two months. During this time the crumbly paste becomes softer at the edges and this texture then advances towards the centre. The flavour becomes less tangy and more musty with age.
The nettles are edible but most people tend to discard them. They are picked locally and are frozen until needed. This is not only convenient but essential since the freezing takes away the sting and causes the leaves to become limp and easier to apply. The leaves are dipped into a sterilizing solution and are then applied using a brush. It is believed that nettle leaves were used originally because they prevented the cheese from drying out too quickly and protected it from flies. Nettles also grew in abundance and cost nothing.
- Country of Origin: England
- Milk Variety: Cows'
- Style of Cheese: Hard
- Pasteurised: Yes
- For pregnant women: Yes