Martin Gott  -  The prevalence and importance of indigenous bacterial cultures in raw milk cheese

Alan and Anne Beckett Award

My partner Nicola and I signed a Farm business tenancy at Holker Farm in 2006 where we established a flock of milking sheep and began making artisan cheese with their milk. Previously I worked alongside two other cheesemakers both making with artisan cheese with raw milk, one with goats in Somerset and one making traditional Lancashire cheese near Preston. I grew up in a small village in Lancashire about 20 miles from Holker where we now farm. I wasn't brought up on the family farm although my father does farm pigs near Kendal in Cumbria, I worked for him for four long years as a butcher travelling from Cumbria to the then newly established retail food market at Borough Market, London Bridge. I left the business and went straight to work with Lancashire cheesemakers and farmers Ruth, John and Graham Kirkham. My passion has been cheese and cheesemaking for as long as I can remember, my grandparents sold cheese in their grocers shops and both my  parents sold cheese from local market stalls back before the supermarkets became the dominant force in food retail. 

Seven years ago I opened a cheese shop in the village of Cartmel which I sold three years ago to concentrate more fully on the farm and cheesemaking business. My partner Nicola works with me on the farm and runs a separate business breeding working Labradors and spaniels .I have two children Daniel and Zara aged 9 and 11.

I still enjoy stalking deer when I get the chance and I'm a member of the local wildfowlers, not that I can say I've shot much lately! I learned to ski aged 33 which I'm terrrible at but love to do when I get the chance, my kids are regulars at the local dry ski slope which is where you'll find me watching them when I'm not doing something with cheese or the farm. 

I'm incredibly grateful to Alan and Anne Beckett for this opportunity to learn and study a subject I'm so passionate about. I'm delighted to have been given an opportunity to meet incredible people, I can't wait to get started!