Big news in the world of Oregon dairy and cheese! Oregon State University announced yesterday that it has received an $860,000 grant to create a new dairy center and new professorship within the College of Agriculture. Paul Arbuthnot and wife Sandra donated the funds to create the Arbuthnot Dairy Center, designed to become a center for research and outreach for the benefit of small dairy processors. Paul Arbuthnot is the former president of Sunshine Dairy, one of the last remaining dairy plants still operating within the city of Portland.
Professor Lisbeth Goddik of the OSU Food Science Department will hold the first professorship endowed by the grant. Goddik has been working for several years to resurrect the OSU Creamery, which closed in the 1960s. The new facility was licensed for cheese production earlier this year, and Goddik hopes to develop several OSU produced cheeses in 2011. Goddik said that the grant will, among other things, assist her in bringing in national and international experts to assist local cheesemakers, as well as develop new styles of cheese.
Every once in awhile a book comes along that is so timely, so needed, so... right... that you just have to pause in wonder and appreciation.
This is one of those books.
With the rapid growth of the artisan cheesemaking industry and the availability of really, really good local cheese, many are ready to take the step of making their own cheese. And while some people are content to play with making cheese in their kitchen or with their kids, or both, others are taking the cheesemaking idea a step farther - they want to make cheese their livelihood.
I get a lot of questions from enthusiastic folks who are looking to do this. Until now, there was not much I could tell them about how to get started except - talk to a lot of other cheesemakers, go to cheese conferences and educational events and so on. And while that stuff is still true, now we have a roadmap. The Farmstead Creamery Advisor
is a comprehensive guide to starting a farm-based cheesemaking business. Hallelujah!
Author Gianaclis Caldwell has been making cheese for years. She started Pholia Farm in Southern Oregon with husband Vern and daughter Amelia several years ago; now they're known nationally for their great cheeses, crafted from the milk of their herd of Nigerian Dwarf goats. I mention this background to emphasize that she knows what she's talking about; the Caldwells built their cheesemaking plant from the ground up and are very familiar with the ins and outs (not to mention the ups and downs) of the entire process.
Caldwell does not shy away from both the joys or the hardships of making cheese; her honesty about the entire process is engaging and refreshing. She covers everything - and I do mean everything - from the business end (financing and business plans) to permitting to equipment, sanitation and floor plans. The book is loaded with stories and anecdotes from cheesemakers across the country so in effect, it's like having a conversation with all of them. You'll learn about the million things you hadn't thought of about the process as well as glean ideas for doing it your own way.
If you are thinking of starting a cheesemaking business - even if you are just fantasizing about it - you need this book. And while the book may serve as a catalyst to success or a much needed reality check, either way, I think this book will have served its purpose.