In order to make Cheese Caves more legitimate, viable practices in both city and country, we must do more feasibility studies and research about different types of cheeses and the desired outcome, and, what is possible in given spaces for affordable cost.
Silvery Moon Cheese in Maine took a step by creating a feasibility study for cheese aging facilities. I applaud them.
I find that the issue is that much of the information is privatized and not easily accessible to the public eye. Granted, this information is sacred and the people who attain it work hard for everybody else in the field. What I often find is that people hold on tight to their knowledge base when it comes to cheese. Anyone in the industry fears competition. They know how they have been able to make money and sustain themselves: it has been through filling a niche that nobody else fills in a given region.
My perspective is that I invite competition. As any true cheese explorateur truly knows, this well of knowledge and creativity within the craft is not something that stops giving. Although my given circumstances make it so I am not tied to a piece of land with my animals. I am able to freely wander and learn from the investment of others. Yet we seem to forget that cheese making started out through nomadism. Lactating animals, in fact, inspired this nomadism. And we also must acknowledge that even though people have found themselves successful in this artisan cheese field, it is few and far between that make a fortune off of it.
It is only big industry and the retail cheese realm that really turns more of a profit. My question is: Why must all these industries be so separate? The classic framework is the big shark eating the small fish. This predator/prey dynamic is inherent within basic survival instinct. But we need more people who know how to feed off both the predator and the prey, to make the playing field a bit more even. Why couldn’t these bigger industries have private sectors devoted to distribution of small farmers? It would just take a little more regulation and consumer action….But this conversation is a long ramble about basic human instinct.
In ARTISAN cheese,however, nobody is ruining it for the rest of us. We all strive towards this labor of love and passion where pragmatism is necessary; both through scientific exploration and viable business practices. And we must challenge each other to make better cheeses, with smarter business plans, if we are to get anywhere.
As artisan cheese business people, we must be ready to be challenged by our neighbors to make out businesses better. We should not try to escape this challenge. For the formula keeps growing and seemingly diverging in order to build a bigger picture of flourishing, in the lime light, dairy products.
Our focus can be obscure and esoteric, but it is also very much related to all local and global food ventures.
With a peasant mindset at heart, to make the most of what is at our fingertips in our tactile reality, we can get to know the nuances of our craft. There is artisan cheese philosophy at its best.