The Farmstead Creamery Advisor
The Complete Guide to Building and Running a Small, Farm-Based Cheese Business
by Gianaclis Caldwell
As a confirmed turophile (translation: cheese nut), I am quite voracious in the information I devour regarding cheese (in addition to making bad puns about cheese…). One of my recent reads that was quite interesting was The Farmstead Creamery Advisor, by Gianaclis Caldwell, owner of Pholia Farm in Southern Oregon. The book is a how-to guide for those desirous of (and insane enough) to want to make cheese on a commercial level.
To answer the obvious question: no, I don’t intend to start my own operation; eating and writing about cheese more than sates my desire. In today’s green, locavore, back-to-the-farm focused movement, though, this is a great book for anyone considering that undertaking.
The book has the tremendous advantage of not only being a “how-to”, but also an “I did” given that Caldwell and her husband started up and still run a successful cheese-making operation. You can tell by the content of the book that she’s included not only a substantial amount of textbook-type information, but also the often-omitted hands-on experience that comes more from the failure and recovery that lead to success than just shooting for the success part on its own.
Personally, I’ve run a number of small businesses (some successful, some not), so I can appreciate the detail she provides regarding the scope of the cheese undertaking, starting with “Analyzing your suitability for the career,” which translates into “are you sure you want to do this?” and going through business plans, day-to-day operations, and all of the pitfalls that await, from simple issues like cleanliness up to the complexity of government regulations that can (and often do) derail the most well-planned operation.
The other question is: why would I read this book that is not about cheese, and why give it such a glowing recommendation? Well, as the opening paragraph indicates, I read anything and everything I can about cheese – even if it’s not actually about cheese. Learning about cheese itself – terroir, milk types, cheese types, and so on – is the foundation of understanding the topic. It’s also fascinating to learn about the technique of cheese making – aging, turning, serving, and pairing. But Caldwell’s book takes this to a different level, helping me to understand the cheesemaker, and the incredible amount of commitment to the craft that anyone who is in this profession must have in order to succeed. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a few cheese makers, and visiting a few cheese making operations, but even then, I didn’t quite understand what lies behind the livestock and stables. Now, I do.
So if you’re thinking of going into the cheese making profession, this is a fantastic book for planning and running the operation. If you’re simply a cheese nut like me, this is certainly the book to read to increase both the depth and breadth of your understanding of cheese, and all that surrounds it.
If you’re interested in purchasing this book, it’s widely available on most online stores, and can be ordered through your local bookstore. Here’s a link to Amazon.com