| Research or Extension leader(s):
Goddik, Lisbeth , Food Science & Technology, Campus
Gamroth, Michael, Animal Sciences, Campus
Bruslind, Linda, Microbiology, Campus
Durham, Catherine A., Agricultural & Resource Economics, Food Innovation Center Exp Station
Extension Program began:
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While the trend in the dairy processing industry is toward fewer but larger dairy processing operations, at the same time, a new type of processing is taking hold—artisan cheese making. As defined by the American Cheese Society, artisan cheese is produced largely by hand in small batches, with particular attention paid to the cheese-maker's art using as little mechanization as possible. Artisan cheese may be made from all types of milk and may include various flavorings. This cheese is produced on small farms. (Kitchen-made artisan cheese cannot legally be sold, so while there is some communication with home processors, this work focuses on licensed facilities on small farms.)
In 1999, in Oregon, there were 21 traditional dairy processors, but as they consolidated, their numbers dropped to 16 by 2007. Meanwhile, the number of artisan cheese makers climbed from two operations in 1999 to 21 in 2010 equal the number of large processors at 16 in 2007.
This OSU Extension dairy processing program is assisting Oregon’s artisan cheese makers in several ways:
• Education: One to three cheese making short courses are offered each year. One of these is focused on starting up an artisan cheese company while the others are focused on production of specific cheeses. for beginning cheese makers up to advanced cheese makers. Safety is strongly emphasized at all levels.
• Research: Applied research is conducted to help local cheese makers improve quality, shelf-life, safety, and economics. These efforts include extending the shelf-life of bloomy rind cheeses (adaptation of French cheese making techniques) and developing a start-up manual for artisan cheese makers (a simple step-by-step guide to starting up a cheese plant in Oregon). Currently a joint project with the Food Innovation Center is focused on the cost of starting up an artisan cheese plant and determining the minimum plant size based on break even analysis.
• Troubleshooting: This program works closely with individual cheese makers to solve their specific challenges.
• Regulatory support: Goddik also serves as technical advisor to the Oregon Department of Agriculture's food safety division.
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