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NMSU offers artisan cheesemaking workshop

With the increased popularity of handcrafted cheeses, many people are getting into the cheese business either as a hobby or for profit. New Mexico State University offers the perfect way to learn the basics.

A three-day hands-on artisan cheesemaking workshop for home cheesemakers and small dairy processors will be given Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 24-26, by the NMSU College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences food technology program.

"Participants will learn how to make cheese at home or as a small business," said Nancy Flores, Extension food technology specialist. "They will learn how to make a variety of cheeses including asadero, farmhouse, feta and mozzarella.

"This year with the help of Nancy Nathanya Coonridge, a local cheesemaker, we are also making raw milk cheese, which is a slightly different process than making it with pasteurized milk."

Joining Flores as speakers during the workshop will be Willis Fedio, NMSU food safety laboratory director; Alf Reeb, New Mexico Department of Agriculture dairy inspection division director; and Michael Patrick, NMSU Extension agricultural economist.

The workshop will cover finer points of cheesemaking, including the processes for making soft and crumble cheeses, aging cheeses and developing cheese cultures. Participants will learn about food safety issues such as sanitation, packaging and storage of cheese, as well as NMDA regulations. The course will also include basic business concepts and cost formulation.

The event will conclude with cheese tasting on Saturday.

Early registration fee is $250 for reservations made by Feb. 11. After Feb. 11, registration fee is $300. Admission cost includes all materials and books as well as refreshments and lunch.

The workshop is limited to 20 participants, so participants are encouraged to register soon by calling Gloria at 575-646-2198. For more information view the workshop brochure online at http://aces.nmsu.edu/ces/foodtech/documents/artisan-cheese-brochure-feb-2011.pdf