A CHEESEMAKER has launched a new feta-style cheese to support sheep milk farmers during the crisis.

The lockdown and huge drop in demand has hit sheep milk farmers hard, leading Thirsk-based Shepherds Purse to increase its weekly milk order by 75 per cent and fast-track the launch of its new format Fettle cheese to offer a lifeline.

Caroline Bell, managing director, said they were acutely aware of their place in the food chain and responsibility to support suppliers and customers. "We rely on them and they rely on us."

She added: “It’s been essential that we have invested in and continue to support our sheep milk farmers so they can survive this crisis."

She is now urging people to buy Fettle at www.shepherdspurse.co.uk.so they can continue to buy the extra milk and support farmers.

"The extent to which we can continue to buy extra milk from the farmers to help to ensure their survival through this crisis, will depend on how much of this new Fettle, and our other cheeses, customers can buy and enjoy.”

Simon Stott, of Sheep Milk UK, said: “Any help we can get at the moment is vital and this new Fettle product is a big lifeline for us. Some of our farmers have already had to dry off due to the massive drop in demand, so the future of the British Sheep milk industry is still far from secure.”

Shepherds Purse is an award-winning artisan cheese company, making speciality cheese from local cow’s milk, sheep milk and water buffalo milk.