Oregon's artisan cheese industry is aging nicely with OSU's help

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Oregon’s artisan cheese industry has grown from just two operations in 1999 to 24 in 2013. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)
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Extension specialist teaches entrepreneurs to make gourmet cheese

The Oregon State University Extension Service helped launch and sustain the development of an Oregon artisan cheese industry that has grown from just two operations in 1999 to 24 in 2013. The state's artisan cheese producers earned $16 million in farmgate sales in 2009.

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. Some examples of artisan cheeses are Gorgonzola, Camembert and Gouda. In the past most artisan cheeses consumed in the U.S. have been imported.

Lisbeth Goddik, the dairy processing specialist with OSU Extension, provides training for all levels of artisan cheese makers including, assistance with improvements in product quality, shelf-life and safety. She consults closely with them to solve specific challenges, and she serves as a technical adviser for the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Division. Establishment of an artisan cheese industry gives dairy producers the opportunity to earn greater returns for specialty products they make on their farms.

Source: Lisbeth Goddik, the dairy processing specialist with OSU Extension.

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