Cheese On Wheels
Pamela Accetta Smith
An increasing number of Empire State dairy farmers are interested in producing cheese, yogurt and other supplemental products to help pad their incomes and raise their profiles, The New York Times recently reported. But not many have the time or money to invest in learning to process milk into cheese.
Enter the brainchild of Rick Bishop, the agricultural economic developer with the Sullivan County Division of Planning. Dairy farmers in Sullivan County, N.Y., are being visited by the CheeseMobile, a trailer with a custom-built, state-approved dairy plant inside. The 12-by-36-foot unit is complete with boiler, air handler, sinks, coolers and a cheese make-room containing all the necessary equipment to manufacture, package and age cheese. It is supplied by lines from the milk room that fill the 200-gallon pasteurizer three to four times a week for cheesemaking.
The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program selected an application from Sullivan County to fund the Modular Cheesemaking Training Unit that created the program to answer the needs of the potential on-farm cheesemakers in the county.
Locally, the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Sullivan County along with the county’s Division of Planning and Partnership for Economic Development, plus the Sullivan County Agricultural Local Development Corp., were involved in the development of the project. On the state level, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services, dairy products specialist William E. Fredericks Jr., and Tank Specialties Inc. of Watertown, N.Y., worked together with the county to design and developed the first 3-A certified Tri-Vat for pasteurizing, holding and cheesemaking. With the success of the current Cheese-Mobile, Tank Specialties has redesigned an improved modular plant that is available as a turn-key, 3-A pre-approved modular cheesemaking unit.
With this funding and farmer ingenuity, the first CheeseMobile opened in April 2003.
Cheese travel — the wave of the future? Indeed.
For more information, visit www.thecheesemobile.com.$OMN_arttitle="Cheese On Wheels";?>