Design and Building of a Facility for the production of Goat and Sheep milk Cheeses on the farmsteadin rural SW Colorado
Personal challenges, including a broken foot, put this project on temporary hold in the summer of 2003. However, the project impetus has been renewed and activities are on track, with a project extension through January 2005.
Plans for the building have been drawn up and are being submitted to the Colorado Department of Health for final acceptance. A meeting has been held with the director of Colorado’s milk division in Denver to determine what requirements need to be met and to obtain a tentative approval of plans.
A well has been drilled and an installed solar pump is now operating. The site has been cleared and straw bales for the building have been purchased and construction begun.
Most of the milking and cheese-making equipment has been purchased, including a 50-gallon Cherry Burrell pasteurizer, a De Laval milking machine, stainless steel tables and hot-water heaters. Much of the required small equipment and supplies have also been purchased, including stainless filter funnels, milk buckets and cheese molds and cultures.
The goal of the project is to design and build a sustainable farmstead cheese production facility, taking into consideration the restrictions imposed by the environment of the Southwest, specifically the remote location of many farmsteads and the lack of abundant water resources.
As project coordinator Denise Bohemier has been developing the dairy plans, she has been involved in several outreach efforts. She has presented two cheese-making workshops in conjunction with the Four Corners Small Farms Conference. Both workshops were well attended. And in August 2003, she participated in the Fort Lewis College Barnyard Days, put on for the benefit of elementary school students. The children were able to milk goats from Bohemier’s farm.
Bohemier has been discussing with other producers and Colorado State University extension employees the feasibility of establishing a community dairy/cheese-making facility, trying to determine a way that her dairy can be opened for use by other producers.