An organic dairy based in Darlington with herds grazing in North Yorkshire and Durham Dales has linked up with a multi-award-winning Yorkshire cheesemaker to supply the milk for its first organic cheese, an organic version of its popular Yorkshire Blue cheese.

Utilising the Soil Association approved, organic milk from cows grazing on chemical free pastures, the two family-run businesses, Acorn Dairy and Shepherds Purse, worked together for 12 months to develop the new blue cheese.

Organic Yorkshire Blue is matured over eight weeks and, each week, the individual cheeses are turned by hand to achieve the blue veining and smooth, even texture. The organic cheese is now available to order online and in a range of independent delicatessens and retailers.

Caroline Bell (nee Tweddle), operations manager at Acorn Organic Dairy, said: “Our own sustainability story has been a long one and recently commended with the Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development.

“Eating organically is more relevant and welcome than ever before, as we all try to reduce our impact and choose foods whose production builds biodiversity as well as environmental and human health. And if it happens to come in delicious cheese form, even better.”

Acorn Dairy is run by the Tweddle family, who have been farming at Archdeacon Newton, near Darlington for four generations. In 1998, as public awareness of the quality and traceability of the food we eat became more vocal, the family decided to convert all 360 acres of its farm to Soil Association organic status.

Now its organic milk, butter, eggs, and cream are available for doorstep deliveries locally but also across the UK thanks to its delivery network via partnerships with Riverford, Organic Pantry and Waitrose.

Artisan cheese producers Shepherds Purse, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, has established an award-winning range of 11 cow, sheep and buffalo cheeses and its Harrogate Blue was named one of the world’s best cheeses.

Caroline Bell, joint managing director of Shepherds Purse Cheese, said: “Producing our first organic cheese allows us to demonstrate not only our commitment to quality artisan cheesemaking but also to environmental stewardship and sustainable farming which mirrors the ethos of our friends at Acorn Dairy.

“Our family-run business has always had a health focus, ever since our mum, Judy Bell, founded Shepherds Purse 35 years ago on a mission to make a quality sheep’s milk cheese to help those who were affected by dairy intolerances.

"It is special to be launching this cheese in our 35th year, making Yorkshire Blue available to those who are choosing organic for many reasons including for health and sustainability.”

Shepherds Purse, based near Thirsk, is an independent family-owned dairy, which makes unique world-class cheeses. It was established by Judy Bell MBE in the 1980s and is now run by her two daughters Caroline Bell and Katie Matten. Their cheeses are available across the UK in most major supermarkets as well as farm shops, independent delicatessens, and specialist cheese shops.

For more information on Shepherds Purse, visit