I have decided that I am a geek.
A food geek.
I get excited about strange things. Like going behind the scenes at a dairy farm. Seeing where our food comes from. Learning the way a dairy farm operates. And learning the stories of the people behind the product.
Recently, I was able to take a day trip to a local farm here in Utah, courtesy of the Dairy Council of Utah. A group of us boarded a bus in Salt Lake City and headed toward the mountain town of Midway, Utah. On the ride over, we learned a little bit about the dairy industry in Utah.
Did you know -in 2000, there were 830 operational dairies in the state of Utah. Today, just 12 years later, there are only 230. Economic hardship, farm consolidation and changes to the dairy industry in Utah have closed 600 dairies.
I don’t know about you, but I was stunned – and a little worried – when I heard that statistic. If that isn’t reason enough right there to support local businesses, I don’t know what is. Reason to support businesses like Heber Valley Milk and Heber Valley Artisan Cheese.
Nestled in the quaint town of Midway is the Canyon View Farm. Here, Grant and Coralee Kohler care for 200 cows who supply the milk for their creamery, their artisan cheeses, and other dairy farms in the area.
Canyon View Farm has quite the history, starting in 1929, where Albert Kohler and his wife raised a family and a successful dairy business through the depression. Today, Grant Kohler – 4th generation dairy farmer – shows that same work ethic and love for the business, keeping the dairy farm alive.
Just about a year ago, one of Grant and Coralee’s sons decided to return to the farm, wanting to raise his family in the business. Knowing that land is too expensive to expand, and that the economy is not what it used to be, they crafted a plan so that the farm would be able to support both families.
The family had always had a dream of making artisan cheeses. And the dream has finally been realized with Heber Valley Artisan Cheese.
There is something about a product being made from start to finish in one location that is so appealing to me. The cows are milked and that milk is what is used to make their artisan cheeses.
Not only do they make favorites that we all love – like cheddar, monterey jack and swiss, but they also have been experimenting with all kinds of different flavors, such as rosemary and orange peel, alfredo, and even chocolate cheese!
After seeing the operations and having a tour of the cheese cave (and yes – I totally want to move in there!) we got to sample many of the kinds of artisan cheeses that they sell. I totally wanted to buy every single kind of cheese that they had!! Some of my favorites, though, were the aggiano, the garlic cheese spread, and the juustoleipa.
If you’ve never had an opportunity to try this cheese, it is a must try for any cheese lover. Lightly grilled on a griddle, this is so delicious. I could have definitely eaten that whole plate myself!!
The whole day was such a great experience. There is just something about seeing the love that these dairy farmers have for their product. And their product is outstanding!! If you are in Utah, you can visit the creamery where you can buy their artisan cheeses, raw milk, or even a scoop of ice cream. I believe you can also buy their cheeses at Harmons in Salt Lake, or if you aren’t in Utah, you are lucky because you can order online! And they also have cheese tasting events, which I think would be perfect for a date night.
This really opened up my eyes to small businesses in Utah, and reasons why we should all support those local businesses. If you are interested in knowing more about Heber Valley Milk or Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, or if you want to stop by to see what all the fuss is about, here is where you can find them:
And for more information about dairy in Utah and beyond, check out the Dairy Council of Utah website.
**Disclosure** I was not compensated or expected to write this post. All opinions are my own, and I encourage you to get out and discover what may be in your back yard!!