Another week's has gone by. I spent Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at Gubeen this week making and curing cheese. On Thursday morning, I went up to the city of Cork to help out with the farmers market. After helping with the market I took a bus up to the city of Fermoy. In Fermoy I meet up with Frank and Gudrig Shinnik, owners of Fermoy Natural Cheese Company.
Fermoy Natural Cheese Company is a small farmstead cheese factory. They produce four different types of raw milk cheese, three of them are washed rind cheeses. On Friday morning I was able to watch them making Cais Dubh, a Gouda type cheese. On Saturday I helped Frank with his cheese deliverers to small cheese shops along the coast of Southern Ireland. I can't believe I only have two weeks left in Ireland before I head to England.
Wisconsin is home to more than 1,200 licensed cheesemakers. In 2008 alone, 39 aspiring men and women earned their cheesemaker licenses -- a fairly involved process that involves significant classroom time and hundreds of hours working as an apprentice cheesemaker in a working cheese factory.
Jon Metzig, a young cheesemaker who grew up in his family's cheese factory, Union Star Cheese, near Fremont, Wis., decided to follow in his father's footsteps and earned his cheesemaker's license while still in high school. Today, he has embarked on a cheesemaking career, and will spend the next two months working with cheesemakers in Ireland, England, Switzerland and Germany to learn Old World techniques that he hopes to bring back to the United States.
The Dairy Business Innovation Center and the Babcock Institute, two sponsors of Jon's trip, encourage you to follow along with Jon as he travels across Europe and shares his findings with readers here on ... So You Want to be a Cheesemaker.
I grew up - literally - on top of my family's cheese factory, Union Star, near Fremont, Wis. As young as seven years old, I would help out in the cheese factory. During the spring of my senior year of high school I took a week off of school to take a cheese makers course at the University of Wisconsin, took the cheesemaker license test and passed. After graduation, I attended UW- River Falls where I studied under Ranee May and worked in the pilot plant on campus. I graduated with a degree in Agriculture Business and a minor in Food Science. After graduation, I took a job with Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese near Waterloo, Wis., where I have worked since and will return after my trip. On this trip I hope to learn more about traditional cheese making -- especially washed rind cheese. I plan on visiting some cheddar factories in Somerset, England to learn more about bandaged cheddar.