We use traditional techniques and small batch pasteurization to produce our cheese entirely by hand in a net-zero solar-powered building.
Cheesemaking is equal parts art and science. We source the best ingredients and work with them as gently as possible. Yes, cheesemaking is hard work but we strive to let the milk, cream, culture, salt and mold shine through with their amazing flavors.
1. Milk haul
From 2003 to late 2018, we hauled milk from the farm in 10 gallon milk cans. Now we use a small tanker and a refrigerated bulk tank at the creamery. This allows us to produce cheese for 2 days from one batch of milk. Our milk comes from Severy Farm in neighboring Cornwall, VT, where about 40 Jersey cows produce our 100% grass-fed organic milk.
2. Cream separation
A circa 1950 DeLaval 618 cream separator turns a portion of the raw whole milk into cream and skim milk. The cream is added back to the whole milk in the vat to produce our cream cheese and triple cream. The skim portion is saved along with more whole milk to be used in Queso Fresco production the following day.
3. Vat pasteurization
Most of our cheeses are fresh and short-aged, so they need be pasteurized by FDA rules. We use the old “low and slow” method of batch or vat pasteurization.
4. Culturing / Coagulation
The cream cheese and triple cream are lactic curd cheeses which means they are coagulated, or “set,” by the action of the culture acidifying the milk. Queso Fresco is set by the action of microbial (“vegetarian”) rennet, an enzyme that sets the cheese in 60 to 75 minutes.
5. Whey separation
6. Draining / Salting / Aging
Pyramid Scheme gets a dusting of ash when dry and aged to develop the bloomy rind. Queso Fresco curd is salted and “hooped” into small and large forms for draining. Peppers are added to curd for our Pepper Queso and some wheels are dried another day before smoking of our Organic Smoked Queso.
7. Packaging for sale
Cream cheese is hand-packed into 8-oz, 5 and 10-lb tubs. Triple creams are hand-wrapped in breathable paper after full rind development. Queso Fresco is packed in vacuum sealed bags the day after it is made, with Smoked Queso sealed a day later after smoking.