Durrus Cheese


Membership approved until 1st May 2018

Business Background

Sector
Dairy

Product Range
Durrus Cheese – semi soft rind washed cheese, Durrus Óg – young pungent washed rind cheese and Dunmanus – seasonal hard raw milk cheese.

Specialists In
Durrus Cheese produces farmhouse cheese using artisanal methods.

Durrus Cheese is a family-run business based in West Cork since 1979.

Jeffa Gill is one of the earliest established cheesemakers in Ireland and today, along with her daughter, she continues to produce award-winning cheeses that are carefully handcrafted on the family farm.

The Durrus Cheese range can be found on good cheese counters across Ireland, the UK, USA as well as Australia.

Key Sustainability Commitments

Raw Material Sourcing

  • Source 100% of milk from SDAS certified farms.

Manufacturing Processes

  • Reduce electricity consumption per unit of production.
  • Obtain a baseline of oil consumption in order to set consumption targets to decrease consumption.
  • Reuse liquid whey waste.
  • Conserve natural habitats on the farm.

Social Sustainability

  • Create an area in which to host visits from local schools, training colleges and community groups.
  • Increase the number of visits to their farm from local schools and community groups.

Unique Selling Points

Established in 1979, Durrus Cheese is a market leader and among the earliest artisan food producers in Ireland.

It is a truly handcrafted product, starting with the fresh milk from a small herd, to hand cutting the curd with traditional cheese harp, to ripening the cheeses by washing and turning by hand.

Durrus Cheese is a multi award-winning company.

Awards & Accreditations

Durrus Cheese has won a number of awards, including several stars from The Great Taste Awards. It won Silver and Best In Class Medals at the 2015 Irish Cheese Awards, as well as a Guild of Fine Food Award in 2016.


Case Study

Sustainability headlines

  • 100% of milk sourced from SDAS-certified farms within a 20 km radius.
  • Electricity consumption per unit of production to be reduced by 15%
  • Reprocessing of up to 30% of whey waste generated in summer months.

Background

Durrus Cheese is a pioneer of Irish farmhouse cheese making, beginning production in 1979. The company is owned and managed by founder Jeffa Gill.

Durrus Cheese is one of Ireland’s longest established farmhouse cheesemakers, producing, maturing and packaging its cheeses on-farm in west Cork.

Milk is sourced from two neighbouring farms, both of which are members of SDAS. Durrus Cheese operates with a HACCP system and full traceability in place.

Ireland accounts for about 60% of its sales, with significant export markets in the US and UK. The company has won numerous prestigious prizes including Best Irish Cheese at the British Cheese Awards 2017, 3 Gold Stars in Great Taste Awards UK for its Durrus Óg in 2016 and 2 Gold Stars for its Durrus Farmhouse.

Sustainability credentials

Durrus Cheese has always aimed to make the finest artisan cheeses from the highest quality local milk and its commitment to sustainability has been both longstanding and influential. The farm has been a member of the Rural Environment Protection Scheme since 1994, planting hedgerows and establishing a number of wild areas on the farm. In 1995, Durrus Cheese created one of the first reed bed systems in Ireland to naturally filter liquid waste from its dairy. In 2009, it took steps to redesign packaging for its large and mini cheeses, resulting in 40% less cardboard per case of cheese; and in 2013, a programme to replace hose pipes with trigger-activated coiled systems reduced water usage in the dairy by up to 10%. Sustainability has always been at the forefront of their business operations- making Origin Green a natural progression.

Origin Green in action

Durrus Cheese sees Origin Green as an opportunity to further demonstrate its commitment to sustainability. The Company’s Origin Green plan will cover the areas of raw material sourcing, manufacturing and social sustainability. In the area of raw material sourcing, a key target is to maintain 100% locally sourced SDAS certified milk within a 20km radius of Durrus farm. In manufacturing, the company will reduce electricity consumption per unit of production by 15% over the period of the Origin Green plan. They will also take steps to obtain an accurate baseline of oil consumption to explore the potential savings that could be gained from using alternative sources of energy. A further target, in the area of waste, is to reprocess up to 30% of whey waste generated by the dairy during the summer months as feed for pigs.

Durrus Cheese will continue to conserve natural habitats within its established reed bed system. This allows the ecosystem to thrive supporting biodiversity and a wide range of flora and fauna.

Social responsibility

Community engagement is important to the company and a key target, as part of Origin Green, is to create a demonstration area where visiting groups, especially local schools and training colleges, can observe the cheesemaking process and ask questions. This will be further enhanced by increased visits from local schools, communicating the importance of socially and environmentally sustainable businesses.

Ongoing improvement

Currently 100% of whey is filtered through the company’s specially constructed wetland system. As it plans to increase cheese production over the next five years it will look at alternative uses for the whey, and encourage local pig farmers to use it for pig feed. This will maintain the health of the farm reed beds by reducing demand on them during the summer months, when biological stress is at their highest.

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