Making Progress and Cheese
Lots needs to be done to get the creamery project moving, but daily life seems to be getting in my way. Fortunately Seana and Dave are dedicating a lot of their time, and are making most of our progress!
We’re currently trying to obtain permits for plumbing, electrical, and water use. I actually thought this part of the process would go much quicker than it has, since the structure is sound and not too much needs to be done, relatively speaking. But permits take a lot of planning and negotiating. And you have to be willing to revise your plan and negotiate more. So while it’s a full-time job to get these things figured out and crossed off the to-do list, we go to our real jobs during the day, and work on permits in the hours between.
Of course, the hours I am able to make phone calls, etc. are the exact hours county officials are out of the office and unavailable. So, it’s taking time! Good thing there are three of us. Our county Ombudsman, Lisa Bush, has been so helpful in deciphering permits and working with the county. If your county doesn’t have an Ombudsman, they should! She’s great.
Amidst my busy work schedule, I was able to take a hands-on cheesemaking class at College of Marin this last week. Principles and Practices of Cheesemaking was taught by Marc Bates, a longtime instructor at the Washington State Creamery and cheesemaking consultant. In teams of two, we all made feta and havarti cheese. On the first day we added the cultures, rennet, and cut the curd, which draind overnight. The next day, we salted and brined the cheeses, and divided them up to take home.
Besides actually making cheese, we were given thorough lectures covering everything from cultures, to rind development, and aging. We also got a great tour of Cowgirl Creamery in Petaluma, and see their wonderful Mt. Tam cheeses being made. We tasted Mt. Tam at one week old, which was accurately described as being “tofu-like,” then tasted it at two weeks old, which was buttery, and then at three weeks old, which was beautifully soft, creamy and mushroom-y tasting.
The two days were over all too quickly, but reinstated my excitement for Seana to begin making cheese here on the ranch. C’mon, permits!