Have you ever been to a holiday party without cheese? Really – think about it. Probably not! The two seem to be inseparable!
Did you know:
The average American eats 31.4 pounds of cheese each year?
The total U.S. cheese production in 2011, excluding cottage cheese, was 10.6 billion pounds?
Where in the world does all that cheese come from?
I’m sure it can be traced to hundreds of factories all over the world today, but at one time, Portage County was known as the Cheese Capital of Ohio with its 40 cheese factories. In fact, between 1860 – 1904, Aurora was the largest producing cheese center in the United States!
Waaaay back in the day, Elisha (b. 1822) and Frank Hurd (b. 1830) lived on a family farm in Aurora helping their father in various industries. At a young age, Frank had contracted scarlet fever and measles that left him hearing impaired and unable to stay in school. He is described as being “…blessed with much courage and energy,” and was obviously not lacking in entrepreneurial pursuits either.
At 22 he left the farm and started in the cattle business with Elisha and from there expanded into the wholesale cheese business.
In 1862, the two brothers built a cheese factory along Silver Creek and a curing house on Chillicothe Road. Elisha died in 1868, but Frank continued on for 50 more years, acquiring and expanding factories until they produced cheese at a rate of 4000 pounds per day at its peek. Frank became known as ‘The Cheese King of the Western Reserve’ with over 25 factories around the Aurora vicinity and the largest operator in the state. In 1904 – and for several years thereafter – a record 4 million pounds of cheese were being shipped around the world each year from Aurora! A devastating flood in 1913 destroyed the Silver Creek Cheese Factory, putting an end to the half century of cheese making.
If you are a connoisseur of fine homemade cheeses, especially goat cheeses, take a look at these two family owned and operated farms. Each of them promises to bring you high quality products from their grass fed grass goats.
Lucky Penny Farm Creamery in Kent
“Lucky Penny Farm is a local Northeast Ohio family owned farm that produces fresh goat cheese along with goat milk yogurt, butter, and caramel sauce. We maintain our own herd of goats and control the entire process from pasture to plate.” ~Facebook About Us
Visit their website for products, events, what they believe, and where to buy. They also have yummy recipes!
MacKenzie-Creamery in Hiram
“We are an artisan goat cheese producer focused on providing our customers with high quality traditional as well as unique goat cheeses. Our cheese is made from the finest ingredients, the purest milk, award-winning recipes, and with love. Our vision is to promote the awareness of the benefits of goat cheese as a natural and healthy food source. Locally produced and handcrafted, our cheeses are 100% hormone free. Bon appétit!” ~Facebook About Us
Visit their website to find out the who, what, where, when, and whys of their operation and all the locations you can purchase their cheeses – including their online store!
Their Facebook is updated regularly with all the current news around the farm and happy goat pictures!
Now – about those log rolls. As Ellen DeGeneres states, “Nothing says holidays like a cheese log.”
Here are a couple of simple, delicious recipes to add to your holiday festivities! Now go and celebrate with all the gusto of a proud Portage Countian this Christmas and New Year!