Access to milk, love of cooking lead to cheese-making dairy
Logan County business finds success through social media, farm markets
BY STEPHANI DUFFJim had experience with Holstein dairy farming and Angel had knowledge acquired in the kitchen, and the couple realized they had ready access to quantities of milk. Before long they focused on their commercial business and began to source milk from Jim’s cousin and local goat farmers.
“We liked the idea of keeping our products local while simultaneously supporting local business,” explained Angel.
The Kings have a store just outside Bellefontaine where they sell their cheese products, offer cheese samples and sell whey-fed pork which they raise.
Some of the cheese products they offer are fresh cheese curds in various flavors, such as plain, dill, ranch, and smoked chipotle. They also offer farmhouse feta, mozzarella and quark. One of their signature cheeses is known as a Gretna Grilling cheese that is browned in a “sizzling hot skillet” where it forms a nice crust and tastes like a grilled cheese sandwich without the bread.
Whey is a by-product of the cheese making process and is also an excellent source of proteins, vitamins, and lactose.
They feed it to their Berkshire hogs, in addition to alfalfa hay and ears of corn. In the fall and winter they are butchered and sold on site.
Angel explains, “The majority of our hogs are
raised for market; we even have some customers that buy the whole hog and have it processed to their liking.”
Along with personal customers, Jim and Angel also sell hogs to restaurants in Dayton and Columbus for specific dishes on menus.
Blue Jacket Dairy promotes its business in large part by having a strong presence in farmers markets in both Columbus and Dayton, where they take their cheese products and offer samples to customers.
“We also are lucky to be promoted by social media such as Facebook and email communication, by word of mouth, and by being named in the menus of the restaurants that serve our products,” Angel explained.
Blue Jacket Dairy is family owned and operated;
Jim and Angel’s daughter works in the summer when she is home from school and their younger children help when and where they can. They also have seasonal employees, with as many as 15 at the peak of their busy season. Jim and Angel are proud to be a part of the Ohio revival of small (compared to Kraft) cheese makers.
“We are excited to be able to take the commodity of milk and add value to it with the unique creation of artisan cheeses,” said Angel. “It is also a fun process to see how the milk flavors change throughout the seasons and how that influences the variety of flavors in the cheeses we offer.”
The Kings bring passion and joy to the process of cheese making that extends to their customers through the products.
For more about the dairy, visit Blue Jacket Dairy’s website at www.bluejacketdairy.com.
Stephani Duff writes for the
Troy Daily News.