Cheesemaking workshop gives participants an edge in the industry

Hello northeast Ohio dairy farmers. OSU Extension is saying cheese again! OSU Extension is sponsoring a three-day basic cheesemaking course geared for local dairy, sheep or goat milk producers. This course has been offered eight times in Ohio with great results.

Peter Dixon, one of the nation’s premier cheesemaking instructors, will teach a workshop April 27-29 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. This workshop will be held at the Grindstone Creek Lodge at 4-H Camp Whitewood in Windsor, Ohio.

Dixon operates the Center for Farmstead Milk Processing in Vermont, where he teaches a variety of workshops for farmstead cheesemakers. Dixon was born and raised on a dairy farm and in the 1980s began making artisan cheeses for the family’s cheese company.

Background

Dixon 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 programs for two Vermont cheese operations. He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Vermont in animal and food sciences.

The course — Hands-on Basic Cheese Making; Enhancing Dairy Profitability with Cheese — is packed with information and hands-on practice. During this course, participants will learn about milk quality, the ingredients used in cheesemaking, the processes for making a variety of cheeses, techniques for aging cheese and tips for establishing farmstead cheese business.

The heart of this workshop is the opportunity for participants to make a number of cheeses themselves. Depending on the interests of the class, participants could make the following cheeses: paneer, Houda, Havarti, lactic, Tomme, ricotta and fresh mozzarella.

Cost

The registration fee for this workshop is $550 per person and includes course tuition, handout resource materials, all workshop supplies, lunches and refreshments. An optional evening creamery tour will be held April 28. For participants who live in our Western Reserve Extension education and research area counties (Ashtabula, Lake, Geauga, Trumbull, Portage, Lorain, Cuyahoga, Medina or Summit counties), a registration discount is available.

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. Reservations are requested by April 13.

Accommodations

Registrants will be able to stay overnight at 4-H Camp Whitewood, in the heart of Amish country in Windsor, Ohio in southwest Ashtabula County. Established in 1940, 4-H Camp Whitewood provides year-round outdoor educational opportunities on 227 acres in northeast Ohio. Situated along side Warner’s Hollow, the unique campus is also home to Young Adventurers Day Camp and Grindstone Creek Lodge & Conference Center.

Participants are encouraged to rent a cabin at 4-H Camp Whitewood to save the cost of gas. Both private and non private cabins are available.

This course could increase profitability as the market is clamoring for local cheeses. Farmstead and artisan cheese operations can allow farm families to become price-makers instead of price takers for their milk. The earlier course graduates are making progress with their cheesemaking ventures, with one couple already opening their own cheese house.

Contact

If you are interested in this program, contact Abbey Averill at the Ashtabula County Extension office at 440-576-9008 or by email at Averill.10@osu.edu. Registration details can also be found at: http://ashtabula.osu.edu.

(The author is an assistant professor and Agricultural and Natural Resources Extension educator in Ashtabula County. He can be reached at 440-576-9008 or marrison.2@osu.edu.)

About the Author

(David Marrison is an agricultural extension educator in Ashtabula County.) More Stories by David Marrison

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