A little bit of history!

Moorhayes Farm House as it is today.

Moorhayes Farm has been in our family since 1899, but the house itself is much older. There are no exact records of when it was first built but it was certainly during the reign of Elizabeth the First. The house’s most notable owner was Jerome Dibben (or Jherom Dibien), a Roman Catholic who refused to renounce his faith, for which he suffered monetary loss. The records show that he purchased land in the area in 1570. In 1583 he was found in possession of papistical books in his house in Charlton Musgrove and he was prosecuted at Wilts assizes. It is thought that Jerome the elder built the farmhouse around this time, before 1600. The house’s many tenants have altered and extended it over the years, but the original turret staircase remains an unusual feature.

The unusual turret staircase.

John Bridle moved into the house in 1899 with his wife Sarah and their four children, Oliver, Mary-Jane, Francis Ann and George Henry. The Bridle family rented the farm until 1920 when George, bought it from the London landlords for £6685. Mary-Jane (known as Aunt Ginny) made cheddar cheese, mainly in the summer when milk was plentiful, in the copper vat that has pride of place in the farm office.
Aunt Ginny’s method of making unpasteurised cheddar cheese was passed down to her niece Dorothy, who was one of the first cheesemaking students at Cannington College, near Bridgwater. Dorothy married Donald Keen in 1941 and George Bridle retired.

Moorhayes Farm House c.1950

Dorothy and Donald had three children, Victoria, Stephen and George and worked together for 23 years until Donald’s death in 1964. Stephen and George continued to farm with their mother and both family and farm grew. Dorothy passed away in 1991 and Stephen and George now manage the business with their sons Nick and James who are the fifth generation of our family to farm the land and make cheddar cheese here. In the 1960’s Moorhayes Farm consisted of 160 acres of land and a herd of 60 cows. Nowadays we have over 400 acres of land and a herd of 200 milking cows. Cheesemaking was always an important part of life on the farm and in the 1960’s Victoria, who had followed in her mother’s footsteps studying at Cannington, took over the cheesemaking until she married and a cheesemaker was employed, still under Dorothy’s watchful eye. James is the latest member of the family to undertake the task, taking over as head cheesemaker in 2001. He enjoys delving into his grandmother’s carefully kept daily records.

James Keen – Our Cheesemaker!

Initially the cheese was made in the dairy beside the kitchen in the farmhouse and then stored on the floor above the living room. Two or three cheeses weighing about 60lb were made each day and carried upstairs for storage. George remembers the monthly upheaval of getting the cheeses back down when the lorry came to collect them for maturing by the cheese factors. In the corner of the living room was a cupboard used for toys, but also concealing a pulley and trap door. George would have to move the toys so that the space could be used to bring down the month’s cheese, with two people working upstairs and two below.

Last day making cheese in the old diary attached to the house before moving into the new dairy in 1990.

In 1990, a stone barn was converted into a purpose-built modern dairy. The process of making Keen’s Cheddar cheese is much the same as it always has been, but we now do it on a larger scale. We rely on the skill and experience of the cheesemaker to bring out the natural flavour of the raw milk, which comes straight from the cows across the yard. More recently we have extended the farm buildings to make a temperature-controlled cheese store which allows us to mature our cheese on the farm until they are ready to be tasted and enjoyed.

The purpose built dairy and cheese store.

We pride ourselves on our family-oriented business, and on producing a traditional cheddar cheese full of flavour and bursting with life.

George Keen cutting a cheese.

Keeping & Storing your piece of Keen’s Cheddar

Keeping and Storing Keen’s Cheddar

We often get asked how you should best look after your piece of Keen’s Cheddar once you have purchased it.


If you have bought your cheese directly from us via our website or from our fridge, it will come in a gas flushed plastic wrapper.

Why plastic? We have researched alternatives and have found that in terms of protecting the cheese, preserving it for you and ensuring that it arrives in the best condition plastic is our best option. Our plastic bags can be washed and re-used or recycled to ensure their impact on the environment is minimised.

The best place to keep your cheese is in the fridge, in the salad compartment where it is slightly warmer and more humid than other areas. Unless you have a cool cellar or larder – the ideal temperature for keeping cheese is around 10 oC.

When kept sealed in the gas-flushed plastic bag, your piece of cheese will keep for up to 3 months, during this time the cheese will continue to mature and the flavours develop.

Once you have opened the packet, we recommend you rewrap your piece of cheese in waxed paper or foil or you can simply pop it back in the bag and return to the fridge. We don’t recommend wrapping cheese in cling film as it doesn’t preserve the cheese well. Once opened we recommend consuming your cheese within 14 days – if you haven’t eaten it by then.

Don’t worry if your cheese develops a little surface mould. Cheese moulds are present when the cheese is maturing and they will often develop when kept in your fridge as well. If this happens you can just trim off the affected areas and the rest of the cheese will still be fine to eat.  Occasionally you may find a blue vein streaking through our cheese, and this is also fine to eat. Some even say this is the best bit of the cheese!

So how should you present your Keen’s Cheddar on the cheeseboard? We recommend taking the cheese out of the fridge around 30 minutes before you want to eat it as it is best consumed at room temperature. Cheese doesn’t like to be too warm though so do try and keep it cool, you can cover it with a clean damp tea towel to prevent it drying out.






Our small truckles weigh approximately 1.5kg and large ones are around 3kg and they will be delivered to you in their cloth bindings. Your truckle will usually be around 9 – 12 months old when you receive it. If you are not going to prepare the truckle for eating straight away, we suggest keeping it in the fridge. They can be kept for up to a month in the fridge, but if you have a cold cellar they can be kept longer. Our maturing rooms are kept at a temperature of 10 – 12oC and have a high humidity of +85%, and in these conditions you could keep your truckle for a lot longer. The flavours would continue to develop and the moulds would grow on the outside, but these can be rubbed off before preparing your truckle.

Prior to cutting and serving your truckle you will need to remove the cloth – see below for instructions.





Autumn 2020

published: 09 sept 2020

Summer has ended and autumn is upon us, the weather has got colder and the days are getting shorter!

We’ve had a great summer. Our wheat has been harvested, some as whole crop silage and some as grain feed which we will use to feed the cows in the winter months when they cannot go out into the fields. We’ve also got lots of straw which we use as bedding for the calves.


We’ve already cut two lots of grass silage and are hoping to get in a third cut grass silage in the next couple of weeks, hopefully the weather will hold for this.

We’ve sown the new grass seed in the wheat fields ready for next year and will plant different fields with next year’s wheat crops towards the end of September.

We’ve had a good calving season and lots of healthy calves who will join the main herd in a few years time.

In the cheese dairy, James has taken a couple of weeks holiday and we’ve taken the opportunity to paint some of the stillages (shelving in the cheese store). Cheese making will start up again from Monday 7th September.