Where our milk comes from
While we are not a farmstead cheese operation, we are the next best thing. We are single-farm-sourced for each of the milk types we use. This allows us to work closely with those farmers to maintain high quality milk standards. It also provides a consistent milk supply which helps us make a consistent cheese product week in and week out. Everything starts with our farmers. If it weren’t for their tireless efforts and attention to detail Lake Erie Creamery would not be where it is today.
Our goat milk comes from Worlim Acres in West Salem, Ohio - about 55 miles SW of Cleveland. The farm is run by Jeremy Miller and Glen Shearrow. They currently milk a split season herd (summer milkers/winter milkers) of about 120 head of Alpine goats, and have plans to grow the herd significantly over the next few years. Having visited the farm on numerous occasions, we are always impressed with the pride they take in their milk production, and the care they take of their animals.
Our cow milk comes from Grim Farm in New London, Ohio - about 50 miles WSW of Cleveland. The farm is run by Eric Grim, his wife Barb, and his son, Ben. They milk a mixed herd of 72 cows - 25% registered Guernsey / 75% registered Jersey. Both of these dairy cow breeds have higher butterfat and protein content in their milk than the more common Holstein breed. This is a boon for cheesemakers because it means better yield and better flavors in their cheeses. It is worth noting that both Guernsey and Jersey cow milks contain the A2 beta-casein protein. This protein is believed to be better for human consumption than the more common A1 found in the majority of milk. As Eric likes to say, cows are like TVs - once you get a color one (Guernsey and Jersey) you won’t go back to black & white (Holstein).
The cows are pasture-raised, which means that when they are not physically out on pasture grazing the numerous cool season grasses and clovers, they are being fed forages that have been grown on the farm. These include peas, oats, hairy vetch and many others. We are very happy to tell you that, beginning in the spring of 2017, Grim Farm will be producing certified organic cow milk.
Low Temperature Pasteurization and its Benefits
All our current cheeses are made from pasteurized milk. We use a low temperature pasteurization process because it is the gentlest to the milk. This process involves heating the milk to 145-149 degrees F and holding it at that temp for 30 minutes before cooling it down to the desired temperature. When milk is heated above 150 degrees F many of the enzymes and healthy organisms present in the milk are killed off, and subsequently not present in the cheese. High temperatures (above 150 F) also denature proteins (break their chemical chains) and make the milk more difficult to digest. These denatured proteins can also impart off/bitter flavors to the cheese.