Outland Hurders, The New Jamaican Cheese Company You Need In Your Life
by Stephanie Koathes Dec 3, 2018
When thinking about cheese readily available in Jamaica, premium aged cheese probably doesn’t come to mind. Well, Outland Hurders Creamery and Farmstead is here to change that, with undeniably Jamaican artisan cheeses made with local ingredients.
Yello caught up with Gordon Dempster and Kristina Budhoo, the masterminds behind Outland Hurders, to learn more about their brand’s story.
Artisan cheese is a unique concept in the Jamaican market. What prompted you to start Outland Hurders?
We always knew we wanted to start a business that had to do with food since we love food. The idea to make cheese just came to us one day when we were in the supermarket and realised how many imported cheeses there were and how they often lacked flavour. We decided then and there that we would make cheese and that’s when all the research and experimentation began. We quickly realised how much we love cheese and cheese making, it is the perfect combination of nature coming together to make something ordinary extraordinary.
What was the inspiration for the name?
Our name came about after a long period of brainstorming and thinking of what this business means and what it stands for. Finally, we settled on ‘Outland’ which technically means a remote area, but to us, it actually represents wide, open spaces filled with dairy animals. A place that is far away from huge populations, so in this sense, it is remote. ‘Hurders’ was initially meant to be herders, but when we went to register our business for the first time, it was misspelled, and the spelling reminded us of ‘curds’ which is what milk becomes before it becomes cheese, so we just went with it! The ‘Creamery and Farmstead’ simply represents the fact that we make a dairy product and do so in conjunction with or on a farm.
Did you do training on how to produce artisan cheese? If so, where and what was that process like?
When we decided to make cheese, we didn’t know anything about making cheese, we had to start from scratch, and at first, that meant a lot of reading and experimenting and a lot of bad cheese! Then we made cheese that wasn’t so bad and eventually travelled abroad to sharpen our skills at workshops in the USA. That’s where we got invaluable information and much needed hands-on experience that helped us understand the art and science behind cheese making a little more. When we returned home, it wasn’t too long before we started making good cheese and then great cheese!
What kinds of cheese do you produce?
We produce mainly cheddar-style, Caerphilly (a hard, crumbly white cheese) and jack-style cheeses but also experiment with brie and camembert styles.
What is an average day like?
We have two types of days here at Outland Hurders: cheese making days and non-cheese making days. A typical cheese making day is usually dedicated to just making cheese except for the regular day-to-day maintenance work every business does. So, on cheese-making days we clean and sanitise our workspace and instruments and then move on to turning milk into cheese which takes a few hours. At the end of every day, we check and monitor the cheeses that are ageing to ensure that they are aging correctly. On other days we focus more on planning for events, right now we are expanding so we are putting a lot of our energy there as well, managing social media pages, speaking with customers, etc.
Where is Outland Hurders located? Where can people purchase your products?
We are located in Williamsfield, Manchester, and our cheese can be purchased directly from us by emailing us at [email protected] or calling us at 876-425-2912. Besides that our customers often look out for us at Conu’co Market or at any other event we will be at.
What are some of the kinds of cheese that you sell?
Our Jamaican Jack is a jack-style cheese and is studded with roasted pimentos and scotch bonnet peppers and is rubbed with an in-house jerk rub during the ageing process. It is herbaceous and a bit spicy at first but then mellows out on the pallet. We also have our Half and Half, a cheddar-style that is rubbed with Jamaican chocolate and coffee and these flavours permeate the cheese as it ages. This cheese is slightly bitter and sweet and has a smooth texture. Our other cheese is Red Maroon, and it is made with sorrel and Red Label Wine™; it’s tangy with a slightly sweet, ‘winey’ and fermented flavour.
Where do you get your raw ingredients?
We work closely with dairy farmers and get our milk from some of the best dairy cattle in Jamaica. For our Jamaican Jack, the scotch bonnet peppers we use are actually from our family’s farm, so are the pimentos which were handpicked and dried by Kristina’s grandparents. The sorrel for Red Maroon is bought from a farmer just down the road from us, and the wine is Jamaica’s local Red Label Wine™. For Half and Half, we also proudly use locally made Jamaican chocolate and coffee.
If you had to choose just one of your cheeses for someone to try, which one would it be?
It would be our Jamaican Jack. When we conceptualised that cheese, we knew we wanted it to be undeniably Jamaican, which it is. That’s what we want to bring to the world, Jamaican cheeses, so for sure we would say try our Jamaican Jack
What is the ethos behind the brand?
Our biggest belief is and has always been, to showcase foods made from local ingredients. We have so many resources here that are underutilised, but we want to help change that! Local farmers and producers are important to us too; the best ingredients come from them, and by supporting them we are helping them to cut out the middleman.
What has the process been like getting the business off the ground?
It is challenging. We first conceptualised this business when we were in university and had little money to our names. We worked and saved money for training abroad and books and equipment, etc. Our dairy industry had been all but wiped out years ago so it was a challenge to find a dairy farmer who could work with us. We are grateful to have built a good relationship with that community which we feel so connected to. Despite our challenges, some of which we still face, we love what we do so we never stop working to get where we need to be.
Was it difficult to get support?
Support from locals and fellow small business owners have been great, and we had support with ease in that respect. However, we have our challenges with some government institutions..
What has the reception been like to your products?
The reception has been great! Many people are happy that we finally have good cow’s milk cheeses available in Jamaica, I guess we weren’t the only ones tired of imported, flavourless cheeses! We are very grateful for the response we have gotten.
Where do you see Outland Hurders 10 years down the line?
In 10 years we would like to be an international company that brings Jamaica’s first aged, artisan cheeses to the world. We will also have expanded our cheese list to include more cheeses that are made with Jamaican ingredients.