Brian Schlatter is a sixth generation agriculturalist who resides in Paulding County, Ohio on his family’s farm where he is the one responsible for the cheese portion of their diversified livestock operation. This year will start their third season of making cheese on the farm. One of Brian’s early essays “Yes, you can farm” was published in the Innovative Farmers of Ohio organization’s newsletter back when Brian was in high school. The essay originated from a speech that he used during his public speaking competition through the Future Farmers of America organization. The cheese that Brian makes for Canal Junction Farmstead Cheese can be found at locally owned grocery stores and the Perrysburg and Toledo Farmers Markets. Find out more about Canal Junction Farmstead Cheese . Enjoy the blog while you are there.
Canal Junction Farmstead Cheese by Brian Schlatter
Farmers market season is upon us for another year. What a wonderful time to experience summer through all the wonderful fresh foods that can be acquired at your local market. In today’s economic times it makes more sense to support your local growers, even if you can find that same item cheaper in a big box store. Because when you spend locally with a locally owned company, that does not have a corporate office somewhere else, your money gets recycled in the community in which you live. This in part helps to encourage local economic growth.
Sure everyone talks about a global economy but where has that gotten us thus far? This great country was founded upon small family farms that sold to locals who then took that money to support other local business who then purchased their food from the local farmer, thus creating a web of life. Ironically this country is seeing a resurgence in supporting local economies again. Seeing that the only way to really be “sustainable” is to have all that you need made and produced in your home area because one cannot depend upon their sustaining nourishment to come from a country across the world, where it must be shipped to them. There is too much that can get in the way from that field to your plate.
Which brings up on interesting topic, the farmers planning for the markets. You, the consumer, enjoy going to the market, browsing the stalls, getting to know the vendors, and enjoying what they have to offer. You plan somewhat of a menu for the week and pick up what you need. The producer, on the other hand, has been planning for that market months ago, if not a year or more ago, depending upon what they produce.
For me as, a cheese producer, my planning for that market starts a year in advance. See, I make aged cheeses that take anywhere from 6 months to 18 months before they are ready to be consumed. That means the cheeses that I am producing today are going to be available late this fall, which means that I have to make sure that I produce enough cheese not only to meet last year’s total amount but also for the growth in sales projected this year. To you it may seem like an easy thing when you approach the stand to purchase the final product but to the producer whom you are supporting that is the accumulation of months and months of planning, caring for the product, packing it for you to purchase for your enjoyment.
Not only am I planning a year in advance for what kind of cheese and how much of that cheese I need, during the aging of the cheese, I am working the cheese every other day and sampling the cheese. This sampling lets me to know what is happening in that cheese. Is it aging too fast or too slow, what does the body look like, will it hold up to become an aged cheese or does it need to be sold earlier? With all this information on hand it is then time to pull the cheese from the aging room, cut it into retail size pieces, package it, pack the cooler for the market and head to the market to sell the cheese.
For us here at Canal Junction Farmstead Cheese getting ready for the market begins at the beginning of the week with packaging the cheese. Taking remaining inventory from last week to see how many of each cheese is needed and determine what kind will be sampled out. Then we pull the needed cheeses, cut and pack them, label them and put them in the cooler for market. Once market day has arrived we get everything ready to go and leave 1 ½ hours before market set-up time begins. It may seem like a lot of work and it is, but seeing returning customers each week and new ones makes it all worth it.
What would the world be without independent artisan cheese makers?
asparagus Clean fresh asparagus from your favorite patch and fry in butter until tender. Set aside, keep warm.
2 TBSP Flour
2 TBSP Butter
1 Cup Milk
3/4 Cup Canal Junction Farmstead Cheese or your choice
Blend flour, butter and milk. Put into pan over medium heat. Add cheese and cook until all the cheese is melted. If to thick add more flour or allow to cook longer. Stir to keep from burning.
Take asparagus and cover with white sauce, enjoy. Add a little kick with some pepper.