Yesterday, I shared my visit to Many Fold Farm in the Chattahoochee Hills Country of Georgia. Tim, Director of Operations at the farm, graciously took me on a tour of the farm and treated me to a tasting of their luscious sheep milk cheeses. As part of my 2015 Q&A with Cheese Professionals, Tim also agreed to participate.
Briefly tell me about yourself. How did you come to cheese? When did you realize you were a cheese geek?
“I worked for the Ellijay Police Department from 1993-2001. I left law enforcement after our 1st child was born and was stay at home dad for 2 years. Rather than going back to law enforcement I choose to pursue another career path. We sold our home in the Atlanta suburbs and moved to New York City and I attended culinary school at The French Culinary Institute. Now known as The International Culinary Center.
During my time there I worked a few internship and stages at places like Union Pacific and Daniel’s. Murray’s Cheese owner, Rob Kaufelt, stopped by the school one day and did a short presentation on cheese and mentioned that he just opened a new store at Grand Central Station and needed people to work the counter. I jumped on this opportunity. My 1st day behind the counter someone handed me some Montgomery’s Cheddar. It changed my world. From that day on I submerged myself in cheese books. Taking home cheeses that we had in the case and researching them and learning all I could. We soon moved backed to Atlanta and I took a job at Star Provisions. A few months after I started the buyer left for another job and I was given the buying responsibilities. As a buyer I had the opportunity to speak directly with cheese makers and importers. This opened up another level for me. Taking their story and conveying to my customers.
I left Star Provisions in 2014 and took a job with Many Fold Farm as Director of Cheese Operations in Chattahoochee Hills, GA. about 30 minutes south of Atlanta. I am responsible for making sure the creamery has everything it needs to carry on the day-to-day activities of cheese making as well as keeping up with the inventory of cheese and getting it to our customers. ”
Why did you want to become a CCP? How has it changed your cheese life or career path?
“Regardless of your profession I think it’s important to always strive to learn more. Taking the CCP exam was a great way to learn more about cheese. “
Where do you work and what is your job title? Describe a “typical” work day.
“I work with Many Fold Farm and my title is director of cheese operations or creamery manager. I maintain the creamery inventory and handle sales and marketing. A typical day would start with checking supply inventory and making sure the cheese makers have everything they need to make cheese. I keep track of our cheese inventory and take care of all incoming orders. Coordinate with our lead cheese maker any large or special orders and make sure we are making the right amount of the right cheese at the right time based off of our sales. I will spend a large part of the day calling our customers and taking any new orders and make sure that everything is arriving in good condition. “
Do you have a favorite cheese or type? What would be your perfect pairing with this cheese?
“My favorite type is the cloth bound cheddar. It all goes back to that piece of Montgomery’s at Murray’s. I might pair it with a chutney and a beer but just that cheese by its self is all I need to keep me grounded.”
Raw vs. Pasteurized? Does it matter? What difference does it make in the final product?
“Arg!! The ongoing question. 1st off I think milk quality is the number one important factor. I prefer pasteurized cheese made from good quality milk over raw cheese from poor quality milk. The cheeses we make at Many Fold are young cheese so we have to pasteurize them. Our milk comes from our own herd of sheep that live a great life on beautiful green pastures. Would our cheese be better if we could make them with raw milk? I don’t know. They would likely be different.
I used to have customers come into Star after a trip to Europe and they would be raving about how good the raw milk cheeses were they had. Were these cheeses better because they were raw? Or were these cheeses better because they were made on a small-scale farm from high quality milk by a cheese maker that has put all his attention into making that one perfect cheese? Bottom line is I like good cheese made the right way pasteurized or not. It’s all about taste and quality to me. I do wish that U.S. cheese makers had the ability to choose. ”
Should the US create a system similar to the European scheme of protecting, controlling and/or regulating specific cheeses?
“Not sure. Sounds like a good idea.”
Tell me about one of your “cheese journeys”. Was it traveling for pleasure or maybe “on the hunt” for an obscure cheese you just had to taste?
“I’m always “on the hunt”; my wife has started limited the number of dairies I can visit when we go on family trips. I guess one of my favorite cheese journey memories is I was traveling through North Carolina one weekend and was in Asheville. We stopped in a local brewery restaurant for lunch. They had a cheese plate listed on the menu. Of course I always have to order the cheese plate. They bring out a plate of cheeses that I had never seen before. All the cheeses were made by a creamery about 20 minutes from downtown Asheville. So I call up the creamery and drive down to check it out. It was Looking Glass Creamery run by Jennifer and Andy Perkins. Not only did I find a new cheese I made some new friends. “
Please share with me one fun, non-cheesy fact about you.
“I am a football fanatic. I’m talking face painting screaming fanatic.”
If you could do one thing, anything, all day long, what would it be?
“Sell cheese of course. It’s a rush it’s like no other high.”
In 2014 Tim was inducted into the Guilde des Fromagers. Garde et Jure is his rank. The levels within the Guilde are:
- Garde et Juré (guard and judge)
- Prud’homme (educator)
- Maître Fromager (cheese master)
- Ambassadeur (ambassador)
- Protecteur (protector)
- Maître Honoris Caseus (honoris caseus master)
To be inducted into this prestigious Guilde, a member of the Guilde must nominate you and the members vote on your induction.
You can see Tim’s complete bio here.
Tim, again, thanks so much for giving so much of your time and passions and sharing them with my readers.
My thanks to everyone participating in my 2015 Virtual Q&A with Cheese Professionals. I hope all of you, my loyal readers, are enjoying this as much as I am…
Interviews will continue throughout 2015… sometimes, they will be “stand-alone” and sometimes they will be presented as round-table discussions with several Cheese Professionals answering the same question. Those participating includeCheesemakers, ACS CCPs™, Cheesemongers and Cheese Professionals and Experts who contribute to this Wonderful World we call “Cheese”.
List of 2015 Cheese Professionals.
List of all Cheese Professionals Bios.
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