Jeff Jirik, vice president, Swiss Valley Farms, Davenport, Iowa
First food-related job? Feeding the dairy calves on the farm.
Where did you learn to make cheese? Started at Treasure Cave Cheese in 1979, then to Honey Bee Cheese Factory, Hamburg, Wis. I’m still learning.
Favorite way to eat cheese? Straight up, room temperature.
What should the public know about cheese? Natural cheese is nature’s original performance food. Listen to your body.
Who is your cheese idol? Dr. Howard Morris, professor emeritus, University of Minnesota.
First memory of cheese?Velveeta and Miracle Whip sandwich on Taystee white bread. My palate has expanded some since then.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a cheesemaker?Some type of natural biology, environmental or agricultural work perhaps.
Best book about cheese you’ve read?About cheese, Frank V. Kosikowski’s “Cheese and Fermented Milk Foods.” About cheesemaking, “Technology of Cheesemaking,” as edited by Barry A. Law.
Would you bait a mousetrap with your cheese? Absolutely. Even a lowly rodent deserves a nibble of good stuff at least once in their life.