Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Winter Park Dairy, Fla: Raw-Milk Aged Blue Cheese And More

Winter Park Dairy, Florida, makes 61-day aged raw-milk cheese using Florida milk. Recently I got to interview David Green, cheese maker, marketer, and co-owner of Winter Park Dairy, about his raw-milk cheese business. His wife Dawn Taylor Green, co-owner, accountant, and financial officer was not present.
David Green, cheese maker and owner of Winter
Park Dairy, June 2012, Winter Park, Fla.
His family has been on this 10-acre Winter Park property for the past 100 years, and started making cheese in the 2000s. Green uses hormone and antibiotic-free raw milk collected from Florida farmers through the Southeast Milk Cooperative.

"Florida's dairy industry stopped allowing hormones and antibiotics in the milk several years ago. They were pressured by big businesses like Walmart and Publix who were pressured by their customers to stop selling milk with these additives," Green says.
Cheese cave at Winter Park Dairy, Winter Park, Fla.
Green uses a temperature controlled "cave," to age his raw-milk cheese. He produces one ton a cheese a month--about 150 wheels a week. "I supply cheese to the top 10 percent of the market," Green says. Pointing to the cheese wheels he says," Every cheese in the cave is already booked or sold."
He is known for his blue cheese but he also makes tomme, cheddar, and baby Swiss. "Raw-milk cheese tastes different from pasteurized, and it doesn't matter where it is from. There is no benchmark for the flavor. It is infinitely variable. Lots of French customers say my cheese tastes French."
Milk vat for processing milk at Winter Park Dairy, Fla.
Winter Park Dairy is the only one in Florida that has three raw-milk handling licenses that allow him to have complete control over all stages of his cheese process. He cares a lot about his product and realizes the risks of dealing with raw-milk. "I use the harshest chemicals I can find to wash my vats," he says, adding he does not want anyone getting sick from his cheese.

I ask him what he thinks about raw-milk sales at farmers markets. He says he would never buy raw-milk at farmers markets because it has to be constantly stored at very cold temperatures to be safe, and coolers just can't reach those temperatures.

He gives me some wedges of cheese to take home, and I express concern about how to keep them fresh without a cooler. He says, "They are aged, salted, and as preserved as they can be. Why if you wanted to, you could take them hiking with you and they'd stay perfectly healthy."

He has no plans to sell to Whole Foods or similar markets preferring instead to sell direct to restaurants and locals through the Winter Park Green Market on Saturdays.

To find out more about the cheese you can go to

No comments:

Post a Comment