Mercer Co. cheesemaking course is July 25-27

MERCER, Pa. — Penn Soil Resource Conservation and Development Council is accepting paid registrations for its three-day cheese-making course July 25-27.

Due to the hands-on nature of the course, registration is limited to fifteen students. The class will be held at the Trinity Church in Mercer, Pa.

Sponsored by Penn Soil RC&D, and Munnell Run Farm Foundation, it is available to all interested parties who would like to learn how to produce farmstead cheese for retail sale.

This hands-on training course will feature both classroom discussion and actual cheese-making instruction from Peter Dixon, a well-known cheesemaker from Vermont.

Novice cheesemakers. According to Wes Ramsey, executive Director of Penn Soil RC&D, this three-day class is designed for novice cheesemakers.

Participants will learn about the milk quality, ingredients used in cheese making, processes for making a variety of cheeses, techniques and requirements for aging cheese and how to establish a business as a farmstead or artisan cheese maker.

This is a “hands-on” class, which gives participants an opportunity to make several kinds of cheese. Dixon will also present short lectures to provide an understanding of basic milk and cheese chemistry, the art of aging cheese (affinage), and how to design and operate a cheese making business.

Dixon is a dairy foods consultant and cheesemaker from Westminster West, Vt. He has a great deal of experience establishing small-scale cheesemaking facilities, developing cheese-making recipes and techniques, and designing and implementing food safety programs.

Since 1997, he has operated Dairy Foods Consulting, working in agricultural development projects in Macedonia, Albania, and Armenia and traveling in the United States, Canada, and China to teach workshops and consult for artisan cheesemakers.

From 2000 to 2004 he owned and operated Westminster Dairy where he made Italian-style cheeses. From 2007 to 2012 he developed and made Consider Bardwell Farm’s cheeses, trained their staff and designed and implemented their HACCP program.

He and his wife, Rachel, began making cheese at their Parish Hill Creamery in May.

Registration and tuition. The tuition for the training course is $495 per student; however, farmers residing in one of the eight northwestern Pa. counties (Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango and Warren) comprising the Penn Soil RC&D area are eligible to apply for the Susan McCorkle Memorial Scholarship offered by Penn Soil RC&D, which may reimburse successful applicants up to fifty percent of the cost of attending.

For more information, contact Wes Ramsey at Penn Soil RC&D by telephone at 814-726-1441, or via email at pennsoilrcd@wcconservation.net.

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