September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
Adams will be able to achieve this growth at Alemar Cheese Company because of a Value Added grant as part of the Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation Program from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. On July 28, Adams welcomed assistant ag commissioner Charlie Poster and Minnesota representative Clark Johnson to his cheese company to showcase the upgrades he's made with help from the grant.
"It's been a big help," Adams said.
With the grant money, Adams was able to purchase a 96 square-foot refrigerator.
"It's been electric for us to have this," Adams said.
The refrigerator has allowed Adams to age more cheese at any one time.
The grant money also helped Adams add 74 cheese molds to the six he owned. These have made it easier to make more cheese at one time.
Adams also bought a 300-gallon bulk tank, which is used as overflow to keep the milk cold for a day during the weekend or on a holiday.
"Cows don't know it's Christmas or a Sunday. This gives us the luxury of waiting until the next day to make cheese," Adams said.
The bulk tank is the same size as the one on the back of his truck, which he uses three times a week to pick up milk from Cedar Summit Farm run by the Minar family near New Prague, Minn. The milk is certified organic and 100 percent grass-fed.
"Grass-fed was important for me because the taste was important for me. The taste (of milk from grass-fed cows) is more complex," Adams said.
Alemar Cheese Company features three French-inspired soft-ripened cheeses - Bent River, Good Thunder and Fromage Blanc - that are now shipped across the country. The Bent River and the Fromage Blanc have each won an award during past American Cheese Society competitions.
"It didn't happen overnight," Adams said about the awards and the nation-wide sales of his cheese. "It was a lot of hard work and we really care about what we do."
Adams, who grew up in northern California, started in the food business when he opened a bagel shop. After that venture ended, he worked in a non-food industry.
"The desire to do something in food was there," Adams said. "I wanted to take something and turn it into something amazing."
He looked to one of his favorite foods.
"I love cheese," Adams said.
With the spark to venture in a different direction, Adams found a book that described the cheesemaking process. The last chapter featured a couple who started their own cheese company. Adams felt compelled to do the same.
"It was this creeping thought in the back of my mind that if I didn't do it, I was going to go crazy," he said.
He found his mentor from Cowgirl Creamery, a cheese company in California, and worked to make his aspirations a reality. Nearly 5.5 years ago, Adams created Alemar Cheese Company. The name is a combination of his daughters' names: Alex and Mari.
Working with his kids, who are now 20 and 18 years old, is still one of his favorite parts about owning the cheese company.
"They've always been here working with me and at the farmer's markets. We get to work side by side," Adams said.
The company is also fulfilling for Adams in another way.
"I became proficient in something that interests me," he said.
Now that the company has grown, Adams and his family don't do everything alone. Alemar Cheese Company has one full-time cheesemaker and two part-time employees.
Adams is hopeful his company will continue to be successful, partly due to the recent expansion, enabled by the grant from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. As this happens, Adams said he will be doing what he enjoys.
Adams said, "I just love to make cheese.
To Submit an Event Sign in first
No calendar events have been scheduled for today.