The Milk Producer - June 2012 - (Page 28)

PROCESSORSPOTLIGHT By Karen Wesseling Swiss inspired S Apprenticeship in the Alps leads to on-farm processing success in southwestern Ontario hep Ysselstein spent four months during 2008 living the life of an Alpler. These hardy souls traditionally herd cows from the base of the Swiss Alps up into high pastures during late spring and summer. They milk the cows by hand in the fields, haul the milk and make cheese in small, mountainside factories. As an Alpler, Shep learned about the process that defines the cheese he produces today just south of Woodstock, Ont. Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese, the on-farm processing facility he opened in October 2011, produces Swissinspired cheese. In Guttannen, Switzerland, a small town of 300 nestled among the Alps in the Oberhasli region, Shep was responsible for moving the herd up the mountain as the cows consumed the pastures. He milked the cows using portable milking stations, and carted 40 litres at a time to a small plant half-way up the mountain. There, he made cheese. Shep took pride in being an Alpler, and his drive to bring the local cheesemaking craft back to Canada gained momentum. He had already spent time learning about cheesemaking in New York state after graduating university in 2004, but was still looking to further his education after his experience in the Alps ended. As his apprenticeship was coming to a close, he made cold calls to cheesemakers across Canada, seeking another opportunity to learn more about the craft. British Columbia’s Natural Pastures Cheese Company obliged him. “Natural Pastures was instrumental in helping me learn about Canadian rules and regulations,” Shep says. “As well, I learned about different tools and technological advances that were not a part of the traditional Swiss cheesemaking.” The family-run Vancouver Island cheesemaker also put an emphasis on instinct as a natural part of the process, Shep recalls. During his eight-month Swiss apprenticeship, from fall of 2008 to spring of 2009, he first learned to develop this intuition for cheesemaking—how it felt, how it looked. Cheesemaking became more of an instinct and less of a process. Switzerland was by far the most enriching experience on his journey to become a cheesemaker, Shep says now. “It was during the time when I was making cheese in the Swiss Alps that I truly fell in love with the art and mastered this technique.” He returned home to Friesvale Farms in 2009 to implement the process. Milk from the Oxford County dairy 28 | June 2012 | MilkPRODUCER Shep Ysselstein uses milk from his family’s nearby dairy farm to make hand-crafted artisan cheeses. farm, just a few hundred metres from his cheese factory, is a key part of making Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese unique. Shep’s grandfather, Sjerp Ysselstein, founded Friesvale Farms 60 years ago after immigrating to Canada from the Netherlands. His father, John, now operates the farm and puts a strong emphasis on cow comfort. The family pays close attention to nutrition, feeding mostly haylage, corn silage, minerals and fresh vegetables from a local packaging facility. Another high priority for cow comfort is using soft straw pack-bedding for fresh cows and sand bedding for

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Milk Producer - June 2012

The Milk Producer - June 2012
Editor’s Notes
DFO Chair’s Message
Dairy Update
Industry Roundup
DFC Promotion
Processor Spotlight
Applied Science
Udder Health
Calf Health
Back Forty

The Milk Producer - June 2012