|Office of the Chancellor / Public Affairs||
Wednesday, December 8, 2004
San Luis Obispo Tribune 12-08-04
|This is what the holiday season at the Cal Poly Creamery looks
like: bricks upon bricks of smoked cheddar, chipotle jack and San Luis Lace
(a delicate Swiss-style cheese) stacked inside the cold room.
The students who work at the Creamery, however, have little time to revel in the holiday spirit or marvel at the cheese they help to produce. They've been toiling feverishly to get the seven varieties of cheese made last year into the hands of consumers.
"This is hard work," said Carolina Machado, a senior studying dairy science. "But we have a good time doing it."
Several students will be staying in San Luis Obispo through winter break to slice 40-pound bricks into 12-ounce chunks, box gift packages and send them all over the world to keep up with demand.
And demand has grown sharply. Last year, the Creamery sold out of all 650 gift boxes it packed with university cheese, which comes from Poly's dairy cows, milked by student herdsmen.
This year, Machado said, they're hoping to sell 1,000 packages, which contain between three and seven pieces of cheese and sell for $20 to $45. She said 200 were packaged during a recent weekend, and people are calling, e-mailing and faxing orders in every day.
Last year, the students sold $25,000 worth of cheese. All of the money funds the operation and pays the students, who also can receive academic units for their work.
The university's cheese is available year-round at functions in the San Luis Obispo area, such as alumni functions and off-campus wine tastings. The Creamery has produced cheeses and other dairy products for the campus since 1903.
On Friday, a handful of students in hairnets sliced cheese bricks, wrapped the smaller chunks and packaged the scraps, the scent of cheddar and jack heavy in the air.
Senior Christina Weststeyn, 22, said she so enjoyed her work at the Creamery that she plans to make her own cheese when she graduates next year.
"I learned a lot," she said. "I'm a person who can learn
it hands-on. I can hear it, but I really learn it when I do it myself."
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