Trenton Speer Reflects on His Journey From Challenging Teen to Cheesemaker | culture: the word on cheese
☰ menu   

Trenton Speer Reflects on His Journey From Challenging Teen to Cheesemaker

Illustration by Iris Busjahn

Fresh mozzarella, vecchio, gouda, provola, fior di pizza, beer cheese, curd—how does a young guy like me know about so many different styles of cheese? Well, it all started when I was in high school and wanted to make some money.

Caputo Brothers Creamery is an easy commute from where I grew up. One day I walked in and introduced myself, asking if they were hiring. I met the owner, David Caputo, and after a conversation and a handshake, I had myself a job. I was grateful for the opportunity because I knew I didn’t have the best reputation around town, so it meant a lot that David took a chance on me, and I was ready to give it my all.

My first job at the creamery was labeling and sealing bags of cheese for the retail store. From there, I helped clean vats, tables, and floors. While I worked, I watched my fellow coworkers, observing their practices and learning more about the organization behind the scenes.

Once I proved I was a responsible, dedicated employee, I learned how to make cheese. The first cheese I made was ricotta, which is relatively easy, and one of my favorites. Over time, I learned how to make every Caputo Brothers cheese. While there are many nuances I’m still mastering, I’m comfortable with the basic science of cheesemaking.

Being on the Caputo Brothers team feels like I’m part of a family. This group is welcoming and generous, and it feels great knowing management is always willing to hear what I have to say and consider my ideas. This style of open communication has been mutually beneficial for both the company and me. For example, I suggested implementing a third shift, which allows more time to focus on creating new cheeses and expanding our product line. Additionally, I have a great work/life balance. Flexible scheduling combined with understanding each employee’s strengths allows everyone to look forward to their shift, smile throughout the day, and genuinely enjoy their job.

Despite my inexperience and shy demeanor, I’m so glad that the Caputo family was able to see my potential and give a 15-year-old an opportunity. Caputo Brothers and my fellow coworkers will always hold a special place in my heart.

Leave a Reply