OSU cuts into some new cheese
Beaver Classic Cheese is the university’s first try at selling branded student-made food products
Published: Sunday, November 18, 2012
Updated: Sunday, November 18, 2012 21:11
Last week Oregon State University launched sales of a new artisan-style cheese produced in an on-campus creamery by students in the department of food science and technology. Beaver Classic Cheese is an alpine-style product, which seven students and multiple faculty make using milk from the university’s dairy herd.
“We wanted to produce a cheese that nobody else was doing in Oregon, said Lisbeth Goddick, a dairy processing extension specialist and professor at OSU. “Alpine style cheeses are very challenging to produce because they involve so much work during aging or affinage.
“This is a traditional cheese type from Europe so we know what it should taste like. However, we want it to have a slightly unique flavor to reflect the terroir effect of being from the Willamette Valley. We want a balanced flavor that’s slightly nutty with hints of cream, caramelized onion and butter aromas.”
Goddik, Marc Bates and Bob McGorrin comprise the faculty management and production team that helped coordinate the launch of the student-made product.
The OSU dairy foods program is deeply rooted in extension, working closely with the dairy industry. The cheese industry on the west coast is growing rapidly and attracting qualified employees.
“[The program started] to help train qualified graduates for this industry,” Goddik said. “However, our cheese makers are also trained in food safety and they will be successful in all types of food processing.”
This is the university’s first venture into branded sales of student-made food products. Yet this may change in the future. There are degrees and facilities in place for students to learn how to produce beer, wine, fermented vegetables, fruit products and breads.
By making a commercial product, the students can be paid for their work, ideal for acquiring meaningful jobs right on campus.
Bates, a new faculty member at OSU assisting with production start-up, is the manager of the on-campus creamery where the cheese is made. According to Bates, a particularly special characteristic of this venture is the depth of student involvement. “They are making the cheese, packaging and selling it for the first time.”
According to both Bates and Goddik, the cheese has been extremely successful.
“We are delighted,” said Goddik. “Right now we sell it as soon as it has aged for six months and we have not been able to build up inventory because the demand is so high.”
In the future, they hope to be able to age the cheese for another three months before selling it. The plan is to continue producing this cheese and hopefully to add a second type of cheese next year.
“That’s really up to the students to decide,” Goddik said.
Apart from providing extra training for students who are interested in careers in dairy processing, the OSU cheese program has extensive courses on the subject. According to Goddik, the industry is supportive of the training being provided, which is why they have financed the remodel and purchase of new cheese making equipment.
“It’s certainly a way to get occupational experience, but I’ve had a great time with it too,” said Tyler Linscott, a post-baccalaureate student in food science.
In addition to online sales, Beaver Classic Cheese will be available at OSU home football games.
The cheese can be ordered online at: http://oregonstate.edu/main/cheese
James Shrieve, news reporter