Yogurt production at the Norwich Farm Creamery
Yogurt making today but Cheese making is just around the corner (Summer course offered 2018)
Last week, aspiring yogurt makers from around New England gathered under the tutelage of cheese-maker Chris Gray to get intensive, hands-on experience in how to make yogurt. The "Yogurt Production" course was offered by Vermont Technical College, as part of it's Institute for Applied Agriculture and Food Systems. The adult students -- some of them dairy farmers, some retail entrepreneurs -- came to Norwich Farm Creamery on Turnpike Road to learn about the science and methodology behind yogurt and the business of value-added dairy production.
The course was one of an ongoing set of classes VTC and Gray offer at the state-of-the-art creamery. The yogurt class was a three-day mixture of work in the creamery, classroom learning, and farm visits. Students learned about milk chemistry, the fundamentals of producing yogurt, and the business of yogurt in today’s marketplace. Gray also guided students through tastings and sensory analysis of their finished product, and took them to another area value added dairy business, Sweet Cow Yogurt, to compare notes with local legendary yogurt maker Diane Wyatt.
The students, one of whom was back for her second class under Gray’s instruction, seemed excited to be in the creamery. One student said, “Our co-op allows us to pull some milk to sell direct to consumers. This might help us with some of the price pressures.” One farmer, from Connecticut, noted that his hometown didn’t have dairy for 20 years until he started farming in the area. “There is no where near us where we can go for this type of instruction,” he said. “This facility is beautiful,” another added. “It’s nice to see the reality of yogurt-making in this environment.”
For his part, Gray commented, “It is great to be able to showcase what we can make in this small but sophisticated space. Small scale value added dairy is one of the solutions that exists for solving, in a local way, some of the very difficult issues facing the conventional dairy system. I am confident this group of six current and future professionals will take what they learned here back into their farm systems and communities and diversify their economies, offer more nutritious food to their customers, and help keep the New England landscape working."
Next, VTC and NFC will be announcing a course this summer on cheese for chefs, called "Cheese Course, Please!," and a technical training for cheese-making professionals this fall, "Essential Principles and Practices of Cheesemaking." Both will be co-taught by Gray and cheese PhD, Dr. Montserrat Almena-Aliste.
High Temperature Short Time Pasteurizer
Milk Cooling Tank
Ice Cream Maker
Instructor Chris Gray measuring the Ph