Patrick Mercier, a milk producer at Champsecret, near the town of Domfront in the Norman county of Orne, has, since 2010, devoted himself to making organic camembert fermier, protected by an appellation d’origine protégée (AOP) – or Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) in English. Today, 70% of the milk produced on his farm is dedicated to this activity.

As well as being president of the ODG, l’Organisme de Défense et de Gestion du Camembert de Normandie, Patrick Mercier is a fervent champion of Normandy know-how. His herd is composed entirely of cows of the Normandy breed, fed and kept in the traditional family spirit.

Watch this video to discover the secrets of making a quality, 100% Normandy camembert!

Patrick Mercier’s Farm, in brief

  • 1981:Patrick Mercier establishes himself on his farm
  • 120 hectaresof agricultural land, 100 hectares for grazing, 20 hectares for cereals
  • 90 milking cowsof the Normandy breed
  • 9 months out of 12, the cows are outside grazing
  • 7 farm workersemployed on the farm, as well as two associates, one being his son.

If some Normandy cattle are exported as far as Iran for their robustness and tenderness, their milk-producing relatives have a proud tradition – these famed cows with their brown mottling are well known for producing high-quality milk. A Normandy cow yields between 15 and 20 litres of milk per day, a milk that’s rich in proteins. 1.9 litres of this milk are needed to make a cheese, compared to the average of 2.2 litres.

To meet the PDO criteria, and thus be allowed to be called a “Camembert de Normandie” (as opposed to simply “made in Normandy”):

  • 50% of the cows at least must be from the Normandy breed,
  • Raw milk, and not pasteurised,
  • At least 6 months a year must be spent in the pastures,
  • The cheese must be moulded using a ladle, with 5 ladles used at 40 minute intervals.

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