Faribault Dairy

September 7th, 2006

Jeff and Randy in make roomName: Faribault Dairy
Owners: Jeff Jirik, Randy Ochs, Mike Gilbertson- these are the three employee shareholders and there are also two non-employee shareholders
Location: Faribault, MN
Animals: The creamery gets their milk via a milk coop who collect milk from numerous dairies.
Cheeses/Products: Amablu, Amablu St. Pete’s Select, Amablu Gorgonzola
More info: www.faribaultdairy.com

When Jeff Jirik says that the Faribault Dairy is a national treasure I wholeheartedly agree. Although the space was first used to produce beer, as a result of its natural characteristics it is ideal for maturing cheese. Faribault Dairy is located in the small town of Faribault, MN. The buildings that are visible from the outside run along a small river and the majority of the facility is built into a tall sandstone bluff. It is not your run-of-the-mill sandstone, rather, it is St. Peter Sandstone. St. Peter’s Sandstone is beach sand deposit from the glaciers of the last glacial age. This sandstone allows water to migrate through it both horizontally and vertically and has a natural capacity for absorbing ammonia just to name a couple of the traits that make it valuable for cheese maturation.

faribault cave

In the late 1930’s Felix Fredrikson, a food scientist for KRAFT, stumbled upon the facility which had been used as a brewery since 1854 and he immediately understood the value of that particular real estate for food production. Blue cheese and this facility have a long history that began with Felix in the late 1930’s (it was the first blue cheese plant in the U.S.) and carried right on through into the early 90’s when the plant was closed down by the conglomerate that took ownership of it in the 80’s. The cave capacity have been expanded over time. The majority of the caves (14-ft wide and 22-ft tall) were dug with basic tools like 4 inch wide chisels. The total cave capacity at the time the facility was closed in the early 90’s was 29,000 square feet. During the time it was open, the creamery produced one of, if not the most appreciated blue cheeses made in the US. The creamery collected milk from approximately 70 local family farms and employed many residents in the community.

One of the employees was Jeff Jirik. He got a job at the creamery after graduating from college. He started out in the group that scraped mold off the outside of the wheels of cheese to make them look more appealing before being sold. Managers quickly realized that Jeff had skills that were useful to them- like knowing how to use a microscope and speaking German with equipment vendors. He advanced steadily in the company, working in many different areas to gain a full understanding of how the business and processes worked. When the plant closed in 1993 he was disappointed- seeing it as a huge loss to the industry and his local community. During the next seven years, Jeff couldn’t get those caves out of his mind. The caves and the attached facility passed through a number of hands after cheesemaking ended and Jeff kept track of the use of the land during those years. When Jeff decided that he wanted to get a blue cheese plant up and running again he decided to call the the property’s owner- a long shot- to see if he was interested in selling.

Call it fate or a big coincidence, that owner was looking to sell. Jeff contacted two of his former colleagues from Faribault and then signed on the property only to begin the mammoth task of cleaning the facility. They did this work in addition to holding other jobs. What made the re-establishment of this facility so intense was the sheer volume of space involved. Once they had finished hauling out mud and junk they sanded and cleaned all of the caves and other facility surfaces. The former cheese plant colleagues were clear that they needed to start in this facility with an absolutely clean slate. Every surface was carefully sanitized before being whitewashed (caves) or covered with USDA approved coatings (work areas).

cheese in cave

In early January of 2001 they made a small vat of cheese at the University of Minnesota for a market test. The response was positive and exactly one year later they made their first vat in the old plant. Although it was not possible to contract for milk with the family farms that had supplied the creamery in former years, Jeff secured a sound relationship with a milk coop. This relationship gives Faribault the opportunity to expand their operation and also to specialize batches… for example one of their current projects is to develop a line of organic blue cheeses with local organic milk. Faribault continued with many of the practices that made the former plant so successful- a prime example of this is their testing program. They have an in house lab where they examine moisture and salt contents but they also test every load of milk not only for antibiotics but also for any potentially harmful pathogens. They feel that as producers of raw milk cheese, this is their responsibility to ensure a safe product for their consumers.

I have immense respect for the commitment of Jeff and his colleagues. When you talk to them about their own paths through the cheese industry they all give tremendous credit to the individuals who taught them. There is immense respect for those that came before them and many of those former employees stop by to visit because they are so happy to see the plant running again.

With three large vats designed to crank out over a hundred wheels each day, Faribault intends to put its blue back at the top of the American Blue Cheese list. They began with Amablu- their classic blue- and from that they developed a blue for the more adventurous palette- St. Pete’s Select. The most recent addition to their product line is their Amablu Gorgonzola. These are cheeses you can look for in your local stores- possibly even some supermarkets. Faribault’s access to large quantities of milk and expanding space for aging cheese benefits all of us cheese enthusiasts because it means that their cheeses will be more widely available across the country.

Blue cheese rubbed in salt

Entry Filed under: Travel, Photos, Faribault Dairy

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Calendar

August 2015
M T W T F S S
« Jun    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Most Recent Posts


  • a.r. rahman nana download
  • beatport download top 100 december 2012
  • applicazioni windows phone 7 download
  • canon mf3200 driver download for vista
  • canon powershot zoombrowser download
  • afscheid 2 2012 download
  • aristotle sentence correction grail download free
  • can u download outlook express
  • c download web image
  • battleon points generator v1 download
  • canon mg5150 drucker treiber download
  • apostila cefet 2011 download
  • captura de movimento download
  • chodA? pogadamy bas tajpan download
  • chicken invader 5 download free
  • budzik do telefonu download
  • can download google play
  • asus k8v mx sata driver download
  • armin van buuren shivers download mp3
  • automatic la riots remix download
  • assumption song download mp3
  • buses to download festival 2012
  • chica bomb dan balan download girlshare
  • avaiana de pano download 3gp
  • caan hold us down download
  • casal selvagem download dublado
  • cd love letter r. kelly download
  • betrayed at 17 download free
  • bishnu majhi songs download
  • battlefield 3 beta download exe
  • barao vermelho um indio download
  • banco de dados download
  • apprentice los angeles download
  • asus p5gl mx audio driver download
  • cd chico buarque 2011 download
  • brave little toaster download movie
  • avtech video server s download
  • andra something new download hotfiles
  • best of bukas palad download
  • bully scholarship edition v1 download
  • 4shared download here without you
  • ateina metas vytautas siskauskas download
  • carl orff album download
  • 325 usb pc camera download
  • b2st rainy days download
  • am pm yoga for beginners download
  • ad management plus download
  • angliA?tina na poA?A?vanie mp3 download
  • canopus procoder 2 free download rar
  • anya fool me download zippy
  • c# web services download file
  • bicicleta gta san andreas download
  • appalaraju songs free download in south mp3
  • battleship 2012 download brrip
  • asereje song mp3 free download
  • bleach movie jigokuhen download
  • bird song family guy download
  • anthrax the collection download
  • c# web services download file
  • adobe pravachol reader exe download
  • centuriA?o download avi dublado
  • audio boost download for psp
  • cara mempercepat koneksi download modem smartfren
  • amor perfeito nechivile download
  • a4tech model pk 7mar free download
  • adobe reader 9.rar free download
  • armin van buuren drawing download
  • castle ville crown hack 1.3 download
  • city boy r kelly download
  • arsenal vs fulham 2 1 highlights download
  • amra halebic devet dana download
  • bounce tails game download
  • cd os monarcas 2011 download
  • club hits 2012 download
  • 2001 dodge stratus manual download
  • boiler room movie download
  • ar rahman new album download
  • cd carla bruni download gratis
  • ar rahman suprabhatam remix download
  • clannad download english patch
  • call of juarez 1 download free
  • britannica online encyclopedia download
  • break even long drive home download
  • cannabis eclipse techno 2011 download
  • anh o day mp3 free download
  • autoroute 2010 deutsch download
  • augustin jeba kumar songs download
  • bruce almighty download subtitle indonesia
  • cidade negra girassol download gratis
  • asus wl 167g utilities download
  • black teman pengganti free download mp3
  • catalina.bat startup script download for tomcat 6
  • canon mp500 download mac
  • black ops rezurrection download size
  • cardminder for mac download
  • black dead music born download
  • cam hack 1.2 download msn
  • bishi bashi download psx
  • camila abrazame download girlshare
  • canon mf3010 driver download 64 bit
  • bree regular font download
  • a doll's house interdisciplinary download
  • anno domini 1404 download
  • apostila tcu 2011 download gratis
  • cartella download internet explorer 8
  • cemo porque cemo download mp3
  • cartA?o de visita download free
  • asus p5gc mx drivers download motherboard
  • cinderella man mp3 download free
  • bridget jones ebook download
  • amiga klassiker download gratis
  • b2k girlfriend download mp3
  • asus a7n8x x lan treiber download
  • a rosie christmas download free
  • backpack justin bieber download mp3
  • beyblade vforce super tournament download
  • blackberry storm 9520 software download
  • applicazioni lg ks360 download
  • ant smasher download pc
  • carcel de dolor aventura download
  • cluedo download kostenlos deutsch
  • a natale puoi mp3 download gratis
  • business card composer download
  • all bhajan mp3 download
  • cd porca veia 2011 download
  • call of juarez download za free
  • baixedetudo net download digimon world
  • chor bazari download songs pk
  • blackberry 9100 os download
  • call of juarez download peb
  • cidadA?o kane download legendado avi
  • bunbury licenciado cantinas download free
  • 3ball mty cd download
  • city hunter ost part.1 love download
  • as apimentadas download rmvb dublado
  • canon mg3100 setup download
  • adobe flash player 11.4 download kostenlos
  • choir of hard knocks download
  • castleville cheat engine download
  • a perfect sonnet mp3 download
  • ashwini ye na songs download free
  • chams para cs 1.6 download
  • cliff richard devil woman download free
  • bauch beine po dvd download kostenlos
  • billie jean house remix download
  • bons sites para download filmes
  • chateau rob dougan mp3 download
  • bugs bunny movie download
  • cd grupo nuwance 2011 download
  • 32x32 minecraft texture pack download
  • activision games demo download
  • any video convertor download com
  • 6.69b lod v 12 english download
  • charles da rocinha cd download
  • alberto o gordo filme download legendado
  • 1und1 outlook connector download
  • 100 ?????? N??NNS?? ??N????? download
  • anggun mon meilleur amour download
  • augustine fong wing chun download
  • chrome radio player download
  • cabal update.exe failed to download
  • civil service reviewer download creit
  • a r rahman satyameva jayate download
  • canon mp830 scanner download
  • behka main behka remix download
  • car wash free download mp3
  • aadha ishq video song download
  • advice christina grimmie download mp3
  • bhai harjinder singh download mp3
  • cabana do pai tomas download
  • burlesque download legendado grA?tis
  • bus driver download scs software
  • airplay download for win
  • 1209 pm file download
  • arash broken angel free download
  • asus wl 167g vista driver download
  • abre los ojos download pl
  • a gifted man download 1x12
  • azis sen trope download mp3
  • biogasanlage fA?r ls 2011 download
  • amhi thakar song download
  • adaptive server enterprise 12.5.3 download
  • brother mfl pro suite mfc 250c download
  • can i download opengl
  • caspa marmite doctor p download
  • bauhaus md bt download free
  • cinema paradiso download with subtitles
  • a lesson in romantics download mp3
  • break k baad songs download songs.pk
  • a r rahman songs album download
  • brand x music captivate download
  • cd robson monteiro 2011 download
  • aplicatii nokia c5 03 download free
  • alain de botton epub download
  • canon lide download mac