Learning the whys and hows of safely, efficiently, and consistently producing high-quality cheese is the subject of the Cal Poly/University of California-Davis Cheese Short Course, which is held at the Cal Poly Dairy Products Technology Center in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Faculty from both universities, and key industry individuals serve as instructors.

This program attracts a variety of attendees--from large-scale mechanized cheesemaking operators to small farmstead cheese manufacturers--as well as marketers, engineers, investors and other individ-uals who are involved in the cheese business.

"The diverse backgrounds of the attendees provides a unique opportunity to share a wide range of valuable perspectives and interests," says Phil Tong, Cal Poly professor and course leader. "While teaching to such a diverse group of people may sound like a daunting task, the emphasis on the basic aspects of cheese science and technology is common to any cheese at any scale. Once we cover the basics in a classroom setting, we give students practical experience by evaluating cheeses, making cheeses in our pilot plant and having the class complete team assignments that are based on real world problems that all cheesemakers face. It's a fun week and we all learn from each other."

The annual cheese short course is one of many outreach program supported by the California Dairy Research Foundation and the Cheese Research and Education Fund. For more information, call 805/756-6097, or visit www.calpoly.edu/~dptc/outreach.