After writing this I am now interested to know how many other cheesemakers feel this way. Even throughout cheese history – how many others felt like they could relate to cheese? Yes, I am cheese. Basically.
After putting the kiddies to bed I ran down to the cheese cave (or deep freezers in my basement) and did some flipping, wiping, and conversation with the rounds of nutrition. It made me giggle as I was essentially managing someone’s future bite of Virginia. Not only that, a bite of Rockbridge County, our property, and every little thing that goes into artisan cheese. Would they taste the Shenandoah Valley? Actually, no. Kerrs Creek is not within the Shenandoah Valley – technically. But sometimes we wont argue – why bother? Would they taste the bon fires and wine berries and green pastures? Maybe. Would they have any idea how that taste came to be? It really isn’t their job to know what goes into artisan cheese but maybe they should. Again, I am cheese.
In the beginning there is warm, out-the-udder milk with a creamy hue of gold. Much like our start being fresh with ideas and filled with motivation and hope. Then there is the gentle transfer to the vat (although, I have dumped milk into the vat due to your every growing demand of our product – sometimes there is no TIME). This part in the process relates to our transfer from unlicensed to a licensed dairy and creamery in 2014. Something that should be so gentle was often disturbed and rushed or probed, rather, by the government (mainly). Now, depending on the next few stages this milk can turn into the most amazing curd you’ve seen or a sloppy mess of waste. Culture, rennet, temperature, and time will determine the outcome.
How again am I like cheese? Well, disturbed or irritated – there will not be a very good outcome. And you know what makes the best cheese? REST. Without rest, cheese and people can become well, bland and ordinary. At this point the curd has had plenty of beauty rest and is ready to transform. The curd can be ladled into cloth or molds. It can grow different types of rinds depending on the recipe. And the second best thing that makes the best cheese? TIME. Oh, and ATTENTION. Cheese needs time to develop just as our business plan and research took almost nine months before starting this chapter. Also, cheese needs attention just like relationships and family.
Now some simple (or basic, as we call things these days) cheeses can be salted and packaged after hanging or dripping whey. Others continue to grow personalities and traits but by goat if you don’t give that bloomy rind attention it will literally rip it’s rind and fall to pieces. Regardless, what goes in is what comes out. If only people could taste the late night hours flipping cheese and packaging for tomorrow’s orders or the time it takes to train 13 yearling does on the milk stand or the insane hours and money it takes to make artisan cheese. Cheese has told a truth to me that no other person has – take rest, time, and attention to be priorities. Take rest when you’re honestly burned out, take time for your life to just live, and don’t forget to give attention where attention is due.
We close our 2019 with a bang and go into winter with the hopes to make it to February alive and well for Kidding Season. Our Indiegogo campaign is live until December 14 and even if we fall short we have made the choice to rest, take time, and give attention.
Thank you all for a wonderful season!
One large Kick Ash saying hello!