“People don’t realize that cheese isn’t orange”

Good story in the Post-Dispatch’s business section on the burgeoning artisinal cheese industry in Missouri.

“When we started selling our cheese, particularly our aged cheese, people would saw ‘Eeeew, what’s that?’ because it’s not in a big orange block,” Baetje said. “People don’t realize cheese isn’t orange. But they try it and once they get a sample, they’re hooked.”

[APRIL 14, 2010 – Steve Baetje, of Baetje Farms from Bloomsdale, MO, left, explains to Kate Pawasarat of St. Louis, right, the different types of artisan goat cheeses he has for sale at the Maplewood Farmers Market in Maplewood. (Stephanie S. Cordle/P-D)]


Author: Scott

I am a married father of two. I graduated from Rock Bridge High School and then Mizzou before spending six years in the Washington, D.C. area. We returned to Columbia, Missouri in 2006.

2 thoughts

  1. Nice piece. How many more could get started if they could afford the regulation setup? A small sheep dairy in southern MO I talked to estimated it would cost $50,000 to establish a regulation small dairy building like theirs, and that’s for the simplest possible cheesemaking operation (they only make a couple types and don’t even have a bulk tank).

    I was amused by the “orange cheese” reference, as that’s a food issue that’s come full circle. Cow milk has a slight natural yellow tint, so traditional farm-fresh cow cheese & butter had that tint as well, so customers expected high-quality products to be slightly yellow. As dairy products become more processed, the color began to be lost, so the companies started adding it back in through dyes, and just kept going on the assumption that more is better, to result in the bright orange cheese and bright yellow butter that’s most common today. So now it’s assumed that colored cheese is “correct” even though paler colors usually mean it’s less processed and higher quality.

    However, goat milk’s chemistry is different, so it and its cheeses are clean white unless coloration is added. Thus many customers think white cheese is odd. For example, high-end Cabot cheddar looks white until you put it next to our goat cheddar, at which point the Cabot is clearly more of a cream color whereas the goat cheese is bright white.

  2. I read this P-D piece a few days ago and laughed out loud when I came across the name of the outfit — “CheezSorce” — that aims to help artisanal cheesemakers get started. It’s bad enough that “Cheez” invokes the orange stuff in jars more commonly found on Philly cheesesteaks (as opposed to anything that might be produced by an artisan). But did they really have to misspell “source” as well? Oy vey…

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