Jean Mackenzie took just a couple of cheese-making classes, and was hooked. She founded Mackenzie Creamery in Hiram, Ohio in 2007 and has been committed from the beginning to green, eco-friendly cheese production. The fields are leased to a local farmer who grows only organic hay, and when converting the lower level of their barn to a licensed creamery a geothermal unit was installed for heating and cooling, and the walls were insulated with cellulose insulation made of recycled newspapers and blue jeans! Recently Mackenzie Creamery was honored by the Portage County Park District Foundation as the recipient of the 2011 Environmental Conservation Award – Green Business.
When it comes to cheese-making, all of their milk is purchased from local dairies, whose goat herds consist of La Mancha, Nubian, Saanen, and Alpine breeds. This combination of goat milks provides a flavorful, protein-rich mixture that gets gently transported in a 300 gallon stainless steel tank. The drivers do their best to not churn or shake the milk unnecessarily. All of the Mackenzie Creamery cheeses are made with pasteurized milk, which is then left with culture and rennet for just one night. The curds are then drained and the why is sent to a free-range pig farmer, who uses it to feed his pigs. They avoid as much waste as possible and try to give as much back to the land as they can. Finally, the cheese is lightly salted and transformed into the variety of Mackenzie Creamery cheeses that are now available, including the Chevre Cups:
Chevre Cups are 4.5 ounce cups of fresh artisan chevre, topped with different fruits and syrups. Best at room temperature, simply open and unmold upside down! Perfect for entertaining, using in recipes, or just when you want a decadent treat.
Apricot Ginger: Plump apricots and grated fresh ginger. It tied with Cognac Fig for Third Place in the “Fresh Goat Milk Cheeses – Flavor Added” category at the 2011 ACS Awards.
Cognac Fig: Courvoisier cognac and fig syrup. This cheese has won numerous national awards and is a fan favorite! It tied with Apricot Ginger for Third Place in the “Fresh Goat Milk Cheeses – Flavor Added” category at the 2011 ACS Awards.
Sweet Fire: Black raspberry habanero syrup
Sour Cherry Bourbon: Bourbon-infused cherries
Photo credit: Mackenzie Creamery