A Day in the Lives of Aspiring Cheesemakers

Oregon CheesemakersHave you ever wondered what it takes to become a cheesemaker and sell your cheese commercially? Awhile back I wrote a post about the topic, musing somewhat abstractly about all of the various things that one might have to consider. It's a time and labor intensive process even for the most optimistic and well-funded and requires a considerable amount of stubbornness just to get to the cheesemaking stage of things. Despite the considerable hurdles, artisan cheesemaking is in a renaissance phase in the Pacific Northwest and has been for a few years now. This is an industry that is, incredibly, still growing - I know of at least two cheesemakers that hope to open within the next year in Washington, four in Oregon, two in Idaho and one in British Columbia.

Today I want to introduce you to two of Oregon's aspiring cheese entrepreneurs: Dave and Jennie Herber who own Catesby Farms near Roseburg. Dave and Jennie are currently focused on developing a sheep's milk cheesemaking operation on their farm, a former dairy. Despite its history, the farm's crumbling infrastructure needs a complete overhaul...this is all happening at the same time that sheep need to be rounded up and vaccinated..and along the way, here's someone from Vermont Shepherd delivering more sheep! (The photos are of a recent re-roofing project.)

Why are we talking about things like vaccination and roofing in the context of cheesemaking? Well, that's part of the encyclopedia of lessons you're likely to learn about the lives - the real lives - of aspiring cheesemakers if you follow along the Catesby Farms blog.