Fife farmer first in Scotland to begin production of Buffalo Mozzarella cheese
A Fife farmer has got the green light to start producing Scotland’s first Buffalo Mozzarella cheese.
The move realises a dream that Steve Mitchell from the Buffalo Farm has had since he established the business in 2005 with his small herd of water buffalo, selling buffalo meat and burgers at farmers markets.
Following a visit from TV chef Gordon Ramsay several years back - where, together, they made a trial batch of Buffalo mozzarella - he ploughed about with his new business.
After enduring a roller-coaster period that saw highs with national TV coverage, Steve thought his dream was over when a major investor pulled out at the last minute, leaving him with no option but to sell a large part of his herd.
He decided to launch an ambitious crowdfunding campaign just under two years ago, where he successfully raised £800,000 from customers from across the UK.
That has led to the Buffalo Farm becoming Scotland’s first and only producer of Buffalo Mozzarella.
Steve has been able to build his custom-designed dairy parlour and Mozzarella Production facility just outside Kirkcaldy, where production is now underway.
He has assembled what he describes as a world-class team to produce a world-class Scottish Buffalo Mozzarella, strengthening his farming team, bringing in expert cheesemaking skills and bolstering his commercial operations.
He said: “We are now embarking on the most exciting and the most terrifying part of the project. We now have to live up to the targets and expectations we have set ourselves and discover whether the market enjoys our Scottish Buffalo Mozzarella as much as we do.”
“I have been lucky enough to tour some of the most respected Buffalo Farms in Italy, tasting their wonderful produce.
“We wanted to create a product which put Scotland on the map and could be considered as being world-class.”
Steve continued, “Provenance is so important in food – and never more so than in Buffalo Mozzarella.
“Our cheese is produced in a matter of hours, from milking to finished balls of Mozzarella. As a result, you can really smell and taste the freshness compared to one from an overseas producer that has had to travel for days – I am absolutely thrilled at the quality we have achieved.”
The Buffalo Farm has already received notes of interest from a number of retailers, restaurants and wholesalers keen to take the new product.
Steve is working with his team to support the continued growth of the product without compromising the quality.
He added: “I would much rather produce small batches of world-class cheese than compromise what we have.
“We have been given the opportunity to create something quite special and the team is determined to make Scotland a force to be reckoned with in the world Buffalo Mozzarella market.”
Lucy Husband, market development and business engagement director at Scotland Food & Drink, said: “The ambition and drive of Steve and the team at The Buffalo Farm to produce Scotland's first buffalo mozzarella has been nothing short of inspiring.
"It's been amazing to watch them grow and see that sustainability has been at the heart of creating this product.
"This is another excellent example of how diverse Scotland's larder truly is."
The farm employs 89 people, and has a herd of of approximately 400 Water Buffalo.