Artisan cheese workshop adds value

Throughout Ohio there has been a great deal of discussion about increasing profits for local dairy farms. One avenue that many farm families have been inquiring about has been artisan cheese making.
Last April, OSU Extension held an artisan cheese making workshop in Jefferson, Ohio, that helped area dairy producers learn about the regulations of on-farm cheese making. This workshop featured Katherine Larson from Mill Creek Associates who shared the market potential for artisan cheese, and Dave Mengel from the Ohio Department of Agriculture who shared the regulations surrounding the production of cheese.
We were absolutely overwhelmed with the response to this workshop and to the positive evaluations received.
Necessary. Many of the evaluations cited the need for a hands-on workshop on cheese making in Ohio. We heard these comments loud and clear and are very pleased to be sponsoring a cheese making workshop in November in Ashtabula County.
OSU Extension is teaming up with Mill Creek Associates and a whole host of sponsors to offer a three-day basic cheese making course geared for local dairy farmers.
About the teacher. Peter Dixon, one of the nation’s premier cheese making instructors, will be teaching this course. Peter operates the Center for Farmstead Milk Processing in Vermont where he teaches a variety of workshops for farmstead cheese makers.
Peter was born and raised on a dairy farm and in the 1980s began making artisan cheeses for the family’s cheese company.
Peter has a great deal of experience in establishing small-scale cheese operations, has experience as cheese quality control manager, has consulted with international cheese making developmental programs, and has developed food safety (HACCP) programs for two Vermont cheese operations.
He received both his Bachelor and Master Degrees from the University of Vermont in Animal and Food Sciences. In short, we are extremely fortunate to have Peter traveling to Ohio to teach this course.
What you’ll learn. This course will be held Nov. 2-4 at the Jefferson United Methodist Church in Jefferson.
This three day workshop is packed with information and hands-on practice. During this course, participants will learn about milk quality, the ingredients used in cheese making, the processes for making a variety of cheeses, techniques for aging cheese, and tips for establishing a farmstead cheese business.
The heart of this workshop is the hands-on opportunity for participants to make a number of cheeses themselves.
Participants will learn how to make Gouda, havarti, lactic, Tomme, Alpine, Caciocavallo, mozzarella and ricotta cheese during this workshop.
Register now. The registration fee for this workshop is $350 per person and includes course tuition, handout resource materials, all workshop supplies, lunches and refreshments.
Registration will be accepted on a first-come, first served basis. Due to the hands-on nature of this course, registration will be limited to 15 people.
Why go? This course could increase the profitability of the attending dairy farms as the market is clamoring for local cheeses.
I commend Katherine Larson of Mill Creek Associates for being the driving force behind the development of this clinic. She has been instrumental in designing this workshop.
A lot of local businesses are excited about this clinic. I am excited by their enthusiasm and the potential for new markets for our local dairy farm families.
I hope that some of our local farms will take this opportunity to examine this value added opportunity. Farmstead and artisan cheese operations can allow dairy farm families to become price-makers instead of price takers for their milk.
If you are interested in this program, please call the Mill Creek Associates at 440-576-0243 or the Ashtabula County Extension office at 440-576-9008 to receive a registration brochure.
We anticipate that this course will sell out quickly so do not delay in registering for this fabulous hands-on workshop.
(The author is an agricultural extension educator in Ashtabula County. Questions or comments can be sent in care of Farm and Dairy, P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460.)

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