Friday, March 5, 2010

Historic family farm gaining recognition for handmade cheese

by Jaclyn Lipp

For Al Scheiderer, running the Buckeye Grove Farm is more than a job. It’s a way to spend time outdoors doing what he loves and improve a business that’s been owned by his family since 1867. Taking care of a herd of Jersey cows and producing milk and award-winning farmstead-artisan cheese are all part of a day’s work.

The farm has been passed down through five generations. Al earned his associate’s degree in dairy science and took control of the operation when his sister wasn’t able to take over and his brother was dealing with health problems.

“Each family member just keeps doing more and more to keep the farm going,” Al says. “It’s always changing.”

Al’s parents started the cheese-making part of the business in 2004 just a few short years before they moved to Kentucky and handed the farm over to Al in 2007. He and his wife Renee had to play quick catch-up to learn about cheese making, and now share the work on the farm.

The farm produces four types of cheese by hand from Buckeye Grove Farm ‘s own milk. The Dixie Swiss, Boeren Kaas Gouda and Hill Folk Jersey cheeses earned the farm medals in the 2009 North American Jersey Cheese Awards. They also produce a Jersey Emment variety.

“We’re pretty surprised. Everyone keeps saying Wisconsin makes the best cheese,” Al says with a chuckle. “We were the only ones eligible in Ohio and we brought back three awards. We beat out Wisconsin and that feels pretty good.”

The Scheiderers have been invited to the World Jersey Cheese Awards this year on the Island of Jersey in the British Channel and are working out the best way to ship the cheese overseas.

Their four-year-old Emily is already trying to help her parents with the chores as she’s growing up on the farm, such as going to the cheese house or tagging along to sell the cheese at the market.

“Every day in the barn is a new story and experiences with Emily,” Al says. The Scheiderers document many of those moments in their blog, along with updating their Web and social networking sites weekly for customers.

Part of what makes their farm and how they run the business notable is their care of the herd, which has been certified disease-free. Al says they even do 90 percent of the vet work themselves, including IVs and birthing.

Al and Renee enjoy taking care of different parts of the farm. He loves making hay in the summer and Renee likes to go to the farmers’ market on Saturdays and meet customers.

“The most rewarding part is just being able to go out and be your own boss,” Al says. “I can get on my tractor and enjoy the whole day outside. Renee can spend the day with our little girl and go on a nature walk.”

Al still likes to keep the business family oriented, because as he says, “It takes a family to run a farm.”


Keeper of the Home said...

If I were closer to the area I most certainly would make a visit to this farm. What a great story!!

~Mrs. M

Milk Products said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Renae said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Renae said...

Thank you for your really nice write-up about our family and cheese operation! We were very pleased with your work! However, we have noticed that a Mr. Todd Tue has deliberatly used the article to spam and promote another families video project. We at Buckeye Grove Farm would never use another family's write up as an opportunity to spam, advertise or take advantage on another person's/business' write up.. Not how farm families stand by each other. We've also gotten some "not so nice" comments regarding this blog write up, and I have traced who left it. To those who have done it, not cool. Just to let everyone who visits here know, we do not promote in this sort of way, and we never will. It would be nice if there was some way to remove Mr.Tue's comment/advertisement from the comments posting. I also know his rights to free speech, but this was nothing more than a way for someone to use us to promote themselves.
Thank You.
Al & Renae Scheiderer
Buckeye Grove Farm Cheese, LLC

Celeste said...

Al and Renae,
Again I apologize for any harm Todd’s comment has caused. As a new farmstead artisan cheesemaker I rely on and appreciate the efforts and talents of those who came before us. I perhaps wrongly assumed that the president and secretary of the Ohio Farmstead-Artisan Cheese Guild whose mission statement reads “The Ohio Farmstead-Artisan Cheese Guild mission is to support and encourage excellence in the Ohio Farmstead
cheese making community. We will do this through development of a collective voice to promote Ohio Farmstead cheese and cheese makers, educate cheese makers and consumers, coordinate resources and share the joy and art of regional cheeses.” would be supportive in all of our endeavors.

I will contact Todd about removing his comment, but do believe that by helping people connect with us and our family is a great way to promote farming and cheesemaking across our state. As a fellow farmer and cheesemaker I stand by you and your family in all of your endeavors. Again I am sorry.


Celeste Nolan
Laurel Valley Creamery

Renae said...

Yes Celeste, this is right, as members of the Ohio Farmstead-Artisan Cheese Guild, we do want to promote Ohio's Farmstead cheeses. But not at the expense of others. We believe in giving each individual thier own "spotlight". We would certainly ask for permission before ever posting something about ourselves onto another persons/businesses website,... See Moreblog or a writeup done about another. Also, we would never consider pushing ourselves or our products on someone elses website, blog or article writeup. The only time we add any of our information to something is if we are featured in it or have become a member and to share our information with other members. Other than that we let the featured ones have thier own story or spotlight. Since you are "not" a member of the Ohio Farmstead-Artisan Cheese Guild, please do not try and use it's mission statement against us. If I remember correctly, we helped you get started by selling you some of your first Jersey cows.
Al Scheiderer
Buckeye Grove Farm & Buckeye Grove Farm Cheese, LLC

Milk Products said...

Al and Renae-

We'd like to apologize if our note and links to our farm story came across as spam. As documentarians interested in the family farm movement we found the article on the Buckeye Grove Farm quite exciting and inspiring and only left our link as a way to share with other readers another piece of a very important movement. We honestly never meant to "take away" from the article in any way.

Todd Tue