Sunday, March 08, 2009

So You Want to be a Cheesemaker

A young Wisconsin cheesemaker left this week for a two-month trip across Ireland, England, Germany and Switzerland to spend time learning Old World traditions through the Wisconsin Dairy Artisan Research Program

Jon Metzig grew up - literally - on top of his family's cheese factory, Union Star, near Fremont, Wis. As young as seven years old, he would help out in the cheese factory. He earned his cheesemakers license while still in high school, and then attended UW- River Falls, where he studied under Ranee May and worked in the pilot plant on campus, earning a degree in Agriculture Business and Food Science. Today, he works as a cheesmaker at Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese near Waterloo, Wis.
During this two month trip, Jon hopes to learn more about traditional cheese making -- especially washed rind cheese. He will spend seven weeks at Gubbeen Cheese in West Cork, Ireland, working with Giana and Tom Ferguson, and will then plan on visiting cheddar factories in Somerset, England to learn more about bandaged cheddar. He’ll wrap up his trip with visits in Switzerland and Germany to local cheese factories, affinage facilities and dairy farms.

Follow Jon along on his trip on the new So You Want to Be A Cheesemaker blog, set up to allow Jon to share his learnings with the rest of the industry. Upon his return, Jon will also make a presentation and publish a paper with his findings. Best of luck to Jon on his journey and we look forward to welcoming him back home to Wisconsin in May!

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