Author Topic: Artisan cheese makers ?  (Read 2527 times)

Offline steffb503

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Re: Artisan cheese makers ?
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2013, 03:34:07 PM »
No neither of us work off the farm. Mike manages the rentals as well as all the heavy work, chopping wood, driving the backhoe, fixing whatever breaks.
I take care of the goats. I milk feed, shovel, make and sell the milk and cheese.
Yes we are licensed to sell raw milk and raw and pasteurized cheese. We are in NY.

We also have chickens for eggs and meat, and grow almost all of our veggies.


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Offline Geo

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Re: Artisan cheese makers ?
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2013, 05:00:39 PM »
Your farm sounds like my dream. You have all the ingredients for an excellent life there.

Offline Tiss

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Re: Artisan cheese makers ?
« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2013, 05:55:43 PM »
I really find it amazing that through regulations, government expects you to dump $100k+ into all this building and equipment- before you even know if you can make cheese that people want to buy! It just seems so backward. To grow organically, one makes a product. There is demand for said product. You expand to meet demand.

I am currently stuck at a stage where I am making some nice cheeses. I am passing them around (and perhaps selling them for "pet consumption") and I believe that there would be a demand for them if I could advertise more than word of mouth. I don't have the money to set up the "set up" nor do I have the time, as a homeschooling mom, to make the volume of cheese I would need to make to recoup such expenses.

With 5 milking does, I turn 10-12 gallons of milk into cheese a week. I wish it was easier for a small producer like me to get into the game at the volume I'm able to produce.

I'll get off the soap box (cheese wheel?) now. Good luck with the BC regulations. Some of your laws seem even more draconian than the ones we are dealing with here.

Offline steffb503

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Re: Artisan cheese makers ?
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2013, 05:40:22 AM »
Well not sure what your state requires but we spent at most $18,000.00 on everything.
We did all the work ourselves, turned an under used exterior building into my processing facility. It is a bit small but we can always expand if there is demand.
The bulk of the expense was the vat pasteurizer, which we only need if we sell fresh cheese.
I know of some spending over $100K but I am  not sure on what?

I have read the regs word for word and there are a lot of times where it will say something like" If you have hot water , then it needs to be whatever" I read that to mean you do not need hot water. Now that is just an example, but there are many situations like that. Word for word is what the agency is all about.

If you are thinking about going into cheese, I suggest getting those regulations and really reading them. I would be happy to help anyone with this endeavor.

Offline jwalker

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Re: Artisan cheese makers ?
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2013, 09:46:04 AM »
$18,000 , that's really not bad at all , I was figuring on spending about $25,000 for the basic set up , I was thinking I could recoup that and maybe some profit in about two to three years.

I have been reading our regulations here very carefully , and you are right , there are many corners that can be cut , I don't have to worry about the milking parlor end of it , as i will be buying my milk from a local dairy.

Also , things like change rooms and washroom facilities are not necessary if I have no employees , nor the need to pay workers compensation rates if it is just my wife and I working there.

My biggest challenge right now is taking and passing the "Dairy Workers Course" thru the BC Institute of Technology  , which is a prerequisite for buying milk from a dairy here in BC , I find it hard to learn and retain a lot of new Knowledge at my age , I will just have to do my best tho.

On top of that there are "Foodsafe" courses , which are pretty much common knowledge , but still have to be taken and paid for.

But as they say "don't let the B@st@rds wear you down" , we shall see . :-\

I would love to see some photos of your operation , have you posted any here before , if not , feel free to do so , I think there are more than a few who would find them interesting.
No..........I'm not a professional CheeseMaker , but I play one on TV.


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Offline steffb503

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Re: Artisan cheese makers ?
« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2013, 01:09:41 PM »
Not much at all to see. This is all of my equipment except for a few fridges.One for finished product, two as caves. The other wall has a long stainless steel table on which I copied Sailor's press set up.

Offline Geo

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Re: Artisan cheese makers ?
« Reply #21 on: September 10, 2013, 05:41:50 PM »
Steff, is that stainless vat just a pasteuriser or do you use it to make cheese as well?

Offline steffb503

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Re: Artisan cheese makers ?
« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2013, 05:28:24 AM »
I make cheese in it as well.
There are two liners that go into it, one will do 2-10 gallons, the other 11 - 22 gallons.
Between the liner and outer shell goes water. You heat the water to pasteurize then drain the hot water and add cold to cool down to desired temp. It maintains the temp amazingly well.
I believe it is certified in all states with at least the mercury thermometers. not all states allow the digital ones, NY being one of them.
Works great for me. They have others as well larger ones.

You can even pasteurize milk and bottle it with the pump and bottler.

Offline jwalker

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Re: Artisan cheese makers ?
« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2013, 09:54:45 AM »
Nice simple small setup you've got there , just what I'm hoping to do.

What make is that one ?, I was looking at the Jaybee vat , I believe they were about $15,000 or so for their 15 gallon vat , they were approved for all 52 states as well as in Canada.

Do you have inspectors come around very often?

I guess the main thing is to keep everything spotlessly clean and sanitized.

What do you do with your excess whey?

Sorry for all the questions. :-\
No..........I'm not a professional CheeseMaker , but I play one on TV.

Offline steffb503

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Re: Artisan cheese makers ?
« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2013, 10:56:32 AM »
I do not mind the questions at all!
This is from http://www.microdairydesigns.com/Pages/default.aspx
I paid about $10k for it 4 or 5 years ago.
He has installed them all over the world. I felt the small size was perfect for my needs. If I am doing fresh cheese 10 gallons is the max I would have room for anyway in the fridge or to drain on the counter. Also it takes a while to get that much pastuerized milk back down to the temp I need for Chevre or Crottin. I normally do a full 22 gallons of hard cheese, 4 - 8" wheels.
The owner Frank Kipe is a Pleasure to deal with.
This one is less expensive for one reason, it does not have an inlet valve. That would be for piping in milk. I pour the milkl in. Those valves are very costly.
We have monthly inspections in the milking room and samples taken monthly. The cheese facility gets inspected 4 times a year. That includes testing the equipment like the thermometers.
I feed the whey to the pigs or chickens.

Too bad you are so far away. You could come play with it first.



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Offline Geo

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Re: Artisan cheese makers ?
« Reply #25 on: September 11, 2013, 03:41:31 PM »
Such a simple setup, yet it clearly works very well for your capacity. I can definitely see why you don't want to expand. Thanks Steff.