We’re living in some strange and unprecedented times, still, at Tom Walker & Sons, we’re open for business and working as hard as ever. All staff are following the relevant government guidelines and operating as safely as possible.
So, until we’re through this, stay safe!
If it helps, here is a short video to aid your inner sense of calm. Sit back, enjoy cheese and take a stroll with us, around our very own ‘Joan Walker Way’, from the safety of your own home.
If you go down to the Woods today...
We’ve been tending to our woodland since we planted it over two decades ago, and recently, we’ve made some changes after it got a little wild. Hedgehog and wildlife houses are a new addition, which is a nice refuge for them, away from the busy roads around.
We’ve also added some picnic benches, for staff to use when the weather’s nice enough.
It’s always great to have a walk around and see the developments – it’s a real haven for wildlife!
It's not out of the Blue!
An outstanding year for Tom Walker & Sons, achieving the highest possible Tesco accolade with an unannounced audit for the 5th year running.
It’s a blue rating all the way and we were overjoyed when the result came in.
This of course is not an achievement reached overnight. It requires hard work and dedication from every member of staff. They consistently work to maintain Tom Walker & Sons’ high standards, delivering safe, quality products not just for Tesco but for all customers.
Well done team!
Judges have Great Taste!
The Great Taste Awards were held recently, where Montagnolo Affiné was awarded a coveted 2 stars. Judges commended the ‘silky and smooth’ texture, ‘amazing, creamy, tangy and salty flavour’, and apparently couldn’t stop eating it!
Cambozola was also celebrated for its ‘delightful, fresh and nutty aroma’ and ‘indulgent creaminess’, gaining 1 star in the awards, which showcase the very best in food and drink. Another fantastic result!
July was a successful month at awards events for Tom Walker and Sons, despite having to deal with the weather of the Great British Summer!
The month got off to an excellent start at the Great Yorkshire Show, where we won a First and Second for our Mon Père Camembert and Greek Feta respectively. They are firm favourites of ours, so we were very happy that they did so well.
Mon Père Camembert continued its successful streak at the International Cheese and Dairy Awards in Nantwich, where it received Bronze in a very strong (and tasty!) category.
Congratulations to all of the other winners – it’s always great to see so many quality cheeses in one place.
BRC Version 8 - AA+
12th June 2019
We are delighted to announce that we have maintained Grade AA+ in our most recent audit, against the new Issue 8 of The Global Standard for Food Safety.
You can view all of our credentials here.
Cheese for Charity
28th September 2018
We are always keen to support local charities, and this week, we supplied a hamper for the Grand Prize Draw at the North East Ladies Day (NELD). This is a long-running event, which brings together women from all over the North East to raise money for charities, while having a day of friendship and entertainment in the process. NELD has raised over £300,000 since it began, and has donated to around 100 charities.
Congratulations to the winner of the hamper, and of course, to the event’s organising committee for another fantastic day.
Gold at Nantwich
26th July 2018
This week, we were delighted to receive the Gold Award for ‘Best French Cheese – Camembert’ at the International Cheese and Dairy Awards in Nantwich with Le Fin Normand, a Normandy Camembert.
Le Fin Normand, made by Laiterie de Saint Hilaire de Briouze, has every characteristic of a great Camembert cheese. Not only is its rich creaminess perfect for eating as part of a cheeseboard selection, but it also creates a luxurious, indulgent treat when baked.
Peter Walker and Gayle Young attended Nantwich as a judge and steward respectively, and were impressed with the standard of cheese in the competition. It proved to be another successful event, and was a great opportunity to see a lot of familiar faces and friends from the cheese industry.
19th January 2018
Yet more snow arrived this week, with around 10cm falling overnight on Thursday. This meant that staff faced a trek into work, especially up the hill to Thorpe Leazes Farm, but everyone made it in!
Our German delivery with Cambozola and Montagnolo aboard was scheduled to arrive, so everyone set to shovelling and ploughing to make sure it didn’t get stuck.
Feel free to scroll through the pictures of a very cold Thorpe Leazes Farm in the snow!
Now we’ve had time to think after the Christmas rush, we’ve managed to calculate how many portions of soft mould-ripened cheese we’ve packed this year.
From January to December 2017, we cut, wrapped and boxed 2,682,047 portions of soft mould-ripened cheese!
That’s approximately 205 miles of cheese, which would get us from Thorpe Leazes Farm to Cambridge. It’s also the equivalent of:
40,000 London buses,
3,500 Big Bens (the tower, not the bell)
3000 football pitches
or 40 Mount Everests.
That’s a lot of cheese!
Another Busy Christmas at Tom Walker & Sons
We’ve had a busy Christmas 2017, with plenty of Christmas cheese and selections produced and snow ploughed. Thankfully, this video was taken just after the Christmas rush, with Mike Walker on his specially adapted forklift. He spent many a happy hour in the yard that day!
Visit from Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council
This month, we had a visit from the Council Leader and the Council Chief Executive of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, who presented us with a plaque (pictured) to celebrate the part we play in the business community in our local area.
The North-East of England is a fantastic place to do business, and we are proud to stand alongside other companies in the area in forming this unique community. We have been part of this ever-growing community for over 35 years, and whilst many things have changed in the area in that time, the drive and hard work of the businesses involved still remains.
Tom Walker & Sons are Fareshare Suppliers!
We’ve been supporting our local Fareshare (North East) for a while now, which is a brilliant way of making use of any of our products which would normally go to waste.
Fareshare is a country-wide organisation, which takes surplus food from producers and supermarkets and redistributes it to charities, community groups and shelters, so that they can make meals for those in need.
Last year alone, Fareshare provided enough food for nearly 28.6 million meals, which means that just over 484,376 people were fed each week. They provide a vital service, and make it so simple to contribute. We’re proud to be associated with Fareshare, and we’d recommend that everyone takes a look at what they do. You can find them here.
New Machines Added to Production!
In the past year, we have invested in another Ilapak Astra bead seal flow wrap machine to replace the Ilapak Astra which has given us over 20 years of excellent service in High Care 1. This machine is capable of packing more than 2,000 units of hard pressed cheese every hour.
We also upgraded our checkweighing and metal detection capability by investing in two Fortress Combi machines for each of our Astra lines. These meet all retailer requirements for failsafe rejection, password protection and enhanced data recording (and are also a treat to watch in action).
Peter Walker: Garde et Juré de la Guilde Internationale des Fromagers
Earlier this week at the International Cheese Awards in Nantwich, the 485th Induction Chapter of La Guilde Internationale des Fromagers took place.
Peter Walker was inducted as Garde et Juré (Guard and Judge) de la Guilde Internationale des Fromagers, along with other colleagues from the industry, as pictured.
La Guilde Internationale des Fromagers, founded in 1969, promotes the work of those in the dairy industry (including cheese-makers, dairy farmers, processors and retailers), while maintaining a link with the traditions of cheese making which have led us to where we are today. Peter joins a network of over 6000 members, spanning Europe and more than 35 countries across the world.
Of this accolade, he says, “La Guilde is enormously respected throughout the industry, and I am honoured to have been selected to join their members. It celebrates the role that both myself and Tom Walker & Sons play within the industry, and we too will continue to do our part to maintain the rich heritage of cheese production.”
Supreme Champion at the Great Yorkshire Show!
This week, we have been at the 157th Great Yorkshire Show, which is always a fantastic showcase of cheese from the UK and further afield.
We were delighted to receive the Supreme Champion Cheese Award for a Bavarian Rougette – a cheese which we co-pack. Nick Reader (pictured), who accepted the award, said, “We have been coming to the Great Yorkshire Show since the Cheese and Dairy Show began, but we have never won Supreme Champion, so I am very surprised and happy. It is a great privilege to win when there are so many excellent cheeses being presented to the judges.”
Should you have any enquiries about Rougette, we’d be happy to hear from you!
New Machines for High Care
A few new additions have appeared on site this year. We have invested in two Digiweigh weigh-price-labellers, which give us the ability to weigh, price and label catchweight portions in addition to the fixed weight portions that we already pack.
We have also added a new Ilapak Astra bead-seal flow wrap machine to replace the Ilapak Astra that gave us 15 years of excellent service in High Care 2. This new machine packs more than 2,000 packs of mould ripened cheeses every hour in a bead-seal shrink film.
Over the past few years, our woodland has really developed and blossomed. It now attracts visitors such as various birds, butterflies, dragonflies, hares, pheasants and, our favourite, deer.
Click on the pictures captured by our wildlife cameras and enthusiastic photographers and scroll through for more.
Fire Safety Training Day
This week, our fire safety contractor, H.E. Woolley spent some time on site training and re-training some of the staff in the use of fire extinguishers and general fire safety.
It is always important to keep on top of fire safety training, especially when working with machinery, chemicals and other equipment. We always strive to prepare staff who work at Tom Walker & Sons as much as possible, and leave them feeling confident that should they ever need to use their training, they could in a safe manner.
30 Years of Tom Walker & Sons!
The London Olympics is not the biggest event in our calendar this year! We’re celebrating 30 years of business! A whole 30 years since Tom Walker decided to embark on a new journey in a small unit on an industrial estate. A lot has changed since then – we moved to a bigger site and adapted it to suit our growing needs, we gained more staff, and both our suppliers and customers have increased in numbers.
You can see some of the changes on our Company History page.
We’ll be marking the occasion with a staff gathering, and probably a cheese board or two!
It's Snow Barrier for Us!
The first snow arrived at Thorpe Leazes Farm on 25th November. By 3rd December, the light dusting had turned into 10 inches, with icicles reaching up to 45 inches! Armed with our very own snow plough and a good supply of road salt, the road ways have been kept clear for all! As ever, we have been open for business; ensuring all vehicles have a swift turn around. Staff have battled their way through the elements, when most people are still in bed, to guarantee that Tom Walker & Sons’ cheese will be packed and delivered.
British Cheese Awards 2010
The British Cheese Awards brought together 179 British and Irish cheesemakers, to find out who was the cream of the crop for 2010.
Flying the flag for Tom Walker & Sons, chief judges Nick Reader and Peter Walker were there, amongst a line-up of international cheese judges, to provide their expert opinions on the fantastic array of superior quality cheeses.
The award ceremony was held at the National Museum in Cardiff, where Peter Walker awarded the Tom Walker & Sons trophy for Best Territorial (Non-Cheddar) to The Cheese Co. (Reeces) for their Acid Lancashire.
It was a superb event, which highlights the diversity & quality of products from the cheese industry available within UK.
Nantwich International Cheese Awards 2010
As always, Nantwich presented a superb gathering of British & Continental cheese.
Our very own Peter Walker was, again, part of the judging team, using his 30+ years of knowledge in the cheese industry to select the best of the best.
The Nantwich show is the perfect arena in which to showcase new cheeses as well as reminding us of the high quality of existing products already in the market place.