Artisan cheese and raw milk for sale
When Grant Kohler’s son asked if he could be the fifth generation of the family to settle in Midway, it required him to find a way for his son to work the Canyon View dairy farm.
Canyon View Farm was settled by Grant’s grandfather Albert Kohler, whose father Gotlieb was a Mormon pioneer from Switzerland. The farm fed and employed the family for decades, but with milk prices down Grant needed to move and expand or do something different if his son was to turn a profit.
On Thursday Grant and his wife Caralee opened Heber Valley Milk and Artisan Cheese at 920 North River Road.
The family-run store is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. selling raw milk and artisan cheeses made from Kohler’s Holstein cows.
The cheese factory is unique, said marketing expert Mark Nelson. It’s rare for a cheese operation to use milk it produces on site. Staying on the farm is also why the store can sell raw milk, Kohler explained. State law requires it to be sold directly by its producer.
Another unique feature is the factory itself, Nelson said. Few operations have a facility built to exact specifications. This allows the small business to have some of the benefits of a large one. Sanitation, for example.
The stainless steel pipes from which milk is pumped from the truck are installed with a self-cleaning feature. A detergent and sanitizer are run through the truck’s tank and the pipes after each use, Nelson said.
The 5,000 square foot factory has the ability to produce 1,000 pounds of cheese every day, but will slowly work up to making about 3,000 per week. These will be stored in a large refrigerator room serving as a "cheese cave" for aging.
Right now the store sells a mixture of Heber Valley Artisan Cheese as well as products from other local producers. Within a few months the store will be completely stocked with items either produced on site or made with the farm’s milk. That includes ice cream in the distant future, Kohler said.
The store’s opening is a symbol of ingenuity, agreed Midway Mayor Connie Tatton and Utah Commissioner of Agriculture and Food Leonard Blackham at the grand opening.
"Grant has had the wonderful distinction of trying to make a go in this changing economy," Tatton said. "It’s tough all over the country and world we were an agrarian society, and now we’re not. But Grant has changed to make it in this situation."
"These are challenging times," Blackham said. "There are new methods and new things that need to be done. We wish him well."
Tatton said the Kohler family has always supported the community, and now the community is proud to support this new enterprise.
In addition to milk, cheese, ice cream and eggs, the new store sells drinks and snacks and is located on River Road the main road into Midway from Park City just after the roundabout.
Heber Valley Milk & Artisan Cheese
920 North River Road, Midway
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