YORKSHIRE-based supermarket Morrisons stocking a new cheese to throw a lifeline to the county’s struggling sheep-milk farmers.

The new fettle cheese has been made by Thirsk-based Shepherd’s Purse. The traditional square blocks of cheese are Yorkshire’s version of the Mediterranean salad cheese feta.

Family-run Shepherds Purse has fast-tracked the launch to support its sheep milk farmers, hit hard by a drop in demand for milk, following restaurant closures during lockdown.

It has taken the risk to bring forward its Fettle product relaunch, increasing its weekly milk order by 75 per cent and investing in packaging which will help sustain their producers.

Since launch, the cheesemaker has also unfurloughed some of its staff to produce the cheese, which has been a lift in these uncertain economic times.

Caroline Bell, managing director of Shepherds Purse, said: “Our new fettle cheese is made from northern sheep’s milk which is rich and creamy and perfect for cheesemaking.

“We hope the launch of this perfect summer-salad cheese will help our sheep milk farmers survive and help us to sustain jobs across the region.”

Anna Lane, local director at Morrisons, said: “Our job is to feed the nation. But we also want to support our local suppliers who are working hard to make food for their local communities.

“We recommend to our Yorkshire customers that they try some of this lovingly handcrafted cheese and to support their local businesses.”

Shepherd’s Purse is an award-winning artisan cheese company, making speciality cheese from the finest local cow’s milk, sheep milk and water buffalo milk. It was founded in 1989 after farmer’s wife, Judy Bell discovered her passion and talent for cheesemaking. More than 30 years later, the company has grown on the family farm.

Now a team of 35, and run by the next generation, Judy’s daughters, Katie Matten and Caroline Bell, they make a range of nine different cheeses, including Yorkshire Blue, Harrogate Blue, Mrs Bells Blue, Yorkshire Fettle and the new format fettle.

The new 150g blocks of Fettle cheese will be stocked in 64 Morrisons supermarkets across Yorkshire. They will be situated in the Deli Express fixture and will cost £2.50.