Exclusive Peter Crosskey Britain's champion farmhouse cheesemaker is quitting because he can't make it pay any more. Richard Hares, crowned supreme champion at the Nantwich International Cheese Show for the fifth time last month, has given 12 weeks' notice to his staff, including two full-time cheesemakers, and is to quit his tenanted farm. Hares said: "We made a good product, but you can't sell it. We've had to make a business decision ­ you can't run a business on the volume we're making." Some 85% of Hares' annual production of 170 tonnes of Cheshire is marketed through Mendip Dairy Crest. "Last week the value of my cheese sold through Mendip Dairy Crest was £3,100 but three years ago we used to do £7,000 a week. That's how it's changed. I presume the housewife's been totally brainwashed to buy Cheddar and we're just left with the delicatessens. I don't know what's happened to our market ­ it's disappeared. "Many supermarkets used to take a lot of my cheese, but now they're taking cheaper block Cheshire. I can't compete against high volume producers. We're losing £20,000 a year." Hares farms 280 acres at Whitchurch in Shropshire, milking 160 cows as a tenant farmer, running the business set up by his father in 1953. "Just to lay off four men will cost £25,000 ­ but as a tenant farmer I can't go to the bank for that. I've got to sell equipment or something to raise that sort of money." Five years ago Mendip took Cheshire from eight producers ­ but soon Mendip Dairy Crest will only take it from one. {{NEWS }}