Ohio farmstead cheese guild forming

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SALEM, Ohio – In a world where mass production and corporate giants thrive, some Ohio businessmen and women are trying to preserve the traditional, small-scale production that makes their product unique.
Three Ohio farms that produce farmstead artisan cheese are taking steps to keep their traditions intact.
What is it? Farmstead artisan cheese is cheese that is produced on a farm from milk produced by the farmer’s own cows. It is also an area of growing interest, according to Dixie Scheiderer, who operates one of the three licensed farmstead artisan cheesehouses in Ohio.
“We’re just now emerging into Ohio,” Scheiderer said, “but there is a good demand for it.”
The state’s farmstead cheese producers have all been at it less than three years, but Scheiderer said the industry is moving in a positive direction.
New group. In fact, efforts are being made to form the Ohio Farmstead Artisan Cheese Guild. Chefs, retailers, cheese lovers and artisan cheese producers are welcome to attend an informal and organizational meeting at 1 p.m. Feb. 8. It will be held at the Rural Services Building, meeting room, 225 Underwood St., Zanesville, Ohio.
“We’re looking to form a real partnership,” Scheiderer said.
The organization targets producers who produce on-farm cheeses with their own milk only. The idea is to keep production small and traditional, Scheiderer said.
“We want to make the specialty cheeses that aren’t made by the factory,” or at least cheeses that are different from the factory, she added.
Mission. In addition to sustaining conventional production methods, the Ohio Farmstead Artisan Cheese Guild will also provide avenues for communication, marketing, education and hopefully, counter space.
“The No. 1 goal is communication,” Scheiderer said, communication among members and communication with consumers.
Also, the organization hopes to attract the attention of retailers with some available counter space.
“We want to go in and be able to do the small areas in front counters,” Scheiderer said.
The guild is looking for energetic individuals willing to help with marketing elements, as well.
Flexible. While the group has established its purpose and mission, its structure will be customized to meet the needs of its producers and consumers.
Although farmstead artisan cheese producers aren’t strong in numbers, they hope to promote the industry by forming the guild.
“We’re very small yet and we’re just emerging into Ohio. We’re trying to get this market up,” Scheiderer said.

Get the details

Ohio Farmstead Artisan Cheese Guild meeting
Feb. 8, 1 p.m.

Rural Services Building
Meeting Room
225 Underwood St.
Zanesville, Ohio
740-926-1904

(Reporter Janelle Skrinjar welcomes feedback by phone at 800-837-3419, ext. 22, or by e-mail at jskrinjar@farmanddairy.com.)

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