We speak to local producers, all passionate about their work, who offer a behind- the-scenes look into the food at your local Tesco store. Their pride in making quality Irish products is obvious, as we hear about early starts, vegetables as part of the family (kind of!) and the love and care ploughed into the farms. Working with Tesco is a vital part of the process – together they ensure the food that ends up in your basket is the best it can be. It’s time to go on a food journey.
Quinlan Steele is a second-generation cheesemaker on Beara Peninsula, Co. Cork, and director of Milleens – the first Irish farmhouse cheese. His mum founded the firm 40 years ago, and they’ve been supplying Tesco for the past five years.
‘Beara Peninsula is one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland,’ says Quinlan. ‘Having had a creative career in the city, I appreciate living here even more, along with my wife Deirdre and our two children.
‘It’s the physical process of creating the cheese I enjoy most. It involves converting 1,000 litres of pasteurised cow’s milk into 150 kilos of cheese. You get 30 minutes to mould it perfectly, or it can’t be used. On production day, I’m up at 4am, and our team of eight begin moulding at 9.30am.
‘It takes 12 days for the cheese to ripen, and it’s in store within three weeks. We get a daily report from Tesco on how much cheese has been sold, which allows us to restock the warehouse so the cheese can stay at its best.
‘Tesco has the most comprehensive food manufacturing standards in Ireland and, as we pride ourselves on having best practice, it’s a great fit. The quality tests we carry out include checks on colour, flavour and texture, as well as swabbing the factory and uniforms.
‘It’s been awesome to win awards for our produce and it’s also brilliant that we can support local farmers by buying their milk.’
‘The cheese is tested to the highest standards before it hits the shelves.’
‘Our cheese is made so that it can be enjoyed at peak ripeness once taken home.’