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Today's word on journalism

Friday, May 12, 2006

THE FINAL WORD

PETERSBORO, Utah -- Gloom like a Bulwer-Lyttonesque pall hung heavily over the Cache Valley as word came that the WORD had gone.

"As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire. . . ." No, wait. . . . That's actual Bulwer-Lyttonism. Scratch it.

We conclude, with joy and trumpets and a tankard or two, the 10th season of TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM. What began in 1995 as a professor's strategy to get his students to read email (guess that worked!) now has spread, birdflu-like, far beyond that unwilling audience to self-flagellating WORD volunteers on five-and-a-half continents. But the willing and unwilling alike--the halt and addled and addicted and deluded--will have to get a life and smell the roses, for a while anyway.

Today marks the end of the WORD for this academic season. Even ere the rosy dawn that didth bust o'er this glade, this vale, this happy home. . . . ooops. Avert already, Sir Bulwer, you mangy cur!!!!

See you in the fall. . . TP

Couple's quest for perfect cheese becomes Rockhill Creamery in Richmond

By Brooke Barker

April 17, 2006 | RICHMOND -- His morning begins before most people are out of bed. He wakes up to a sound: not the buzzer from his alarm or a nearby rooster, but the girls are calling him. The girls -- Elsa, Gertrude, Ingrid, Ruby and Greta -- are actually five Brown Swiss cows. This type of cow has about the perfect protein-to-butterfat ratio for making cheese.

Pete Schropp began selling cheese in January 2005, and looks forward to the day when he can leave the farm for more than a day.

"My wife and I have only left the farm for one night in the last year," Schropp explains as he works on the time-consuming cheese making process.

Pete Schropp and his wife, Jennifer Hines, bought the historic farm on State Street in 1987. Both were working for the Herald Journal at the time but wanted a new start. They tried selling calves to local dairies. When those businesses began closing down, the couple looked for ways to utilize their farm and the skills they had learned.

Hines had been interested in cheese making. She experimented in her home until Schropp built a small creamery out of a former chicken coop. It took about two and a half years for Schropp to complete the building. Hines also took a cheese-making class at Utah State University in order to help her learn all of the necessary skills to make cheese.

"I think the tile on the walls took the most time, probably a year in itself," Schropp said.

Today, the couple has two extra sets of hands to help out with the cheese making. They also have a 75 gallon vat, to heat, stir and make the cheese in. This is especially helpful as the customer base for their cheese is continuing to increase. Every third day, Schropp spends his entire day making a new batch of cheese.

Beginning in the morning he must milk the cows, and by noon the product is a texture similar to yogurt. Thanks to Schropp's vat, he can easily heat and cool and add ingredients to the future cheese. After cutting the substance to help further the dehydration process, the whey, or excess water in the milk, begins to separate from the curd. A while later, the cheese is ready to pack into round hoops, using cheesecloth and a strainer.

"You don't want to waste any curd, because curd is money," Schropp says as he skims the vat with a small strainer picking up the loose pieces and packing them into the last wheel. The product looks similar to cottage cheese, but after sitting in the molds it quickly starts to take shape. By 9 p.m. the cheese will be ready to go into the storage room, where it will undergo several other treatments and age for at least 60 days.

"It takes more time depending on the type of cheese you're making," explained Schropp.

Schropp says the most popular cheese is the Dark Canyon Edam. Rockhill also makes Gouda, Feta, and several variations of other cheeses depending on the season. For a full list as well as descriptions, visit the webpage at rockhillcheese.com.

Rockhill Cheese is one of two home-based, micro-dairy cheese companies still in business in Utah. The company is unique in Cache Valley.

The cheese is sold locally at Sweet Pea's Natural Market, Crumb Brother's Artisan Bread, Café Ibis and the Cache Valley Gardeners' Market during the summer. Rockhill Cheese is used at the Painted Table in Logan and several other restaurants throughout the state. During the summer months it is also sold at several other gardeners' markets around northern Utah.

On April 15, Schropp and Hines opened a small stand on their farmstead where they will sell the cheese and several other locally-made products. The stand is located in a former granary on the farm. The stand will be open on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout the rest of the warmer months. The address is 563 S. State St.

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