For The Love Of Cheese: Forx Farm
When Ron and Tammy Lubsen started making Gouda in their home kitchen, it was out of a love for the cheese they grew up eating in Holland. Now, only a year later, they’ve constructed a commercial cheese-making facility capable of producing over 300 pounds of cheese in a single batch. Needless to say, it has been a busy year.
In the beginning, they were learning how to make Gouda in a 14-gallon vat and now they’re the proud owners of a fully-automated 400-gallon system they purchased from their native Holland. To make room for it all, they carved out part of the glass fabrication plant they’ve owned and operated for the past 25 years. If it seems odd to drive onto a farm in Anderson to walk through a manufacturing plant to get to a commercial kitchen, well, it kind of is. For the Lubsens, though, it works out seamlessly.
The expanded kitchen will allow the Lubsens to make enough cheese to meet the growing demand, and that is something they are very excited about. Their aging room is a converted shipping container outfitted with air conditioning units, misters and strict humidity and temperature controls. The Cave, as Ron calls it, has one wall lined with shelves with Gouda in various stages of the aging process. “Obviously, the goal is to build more shelves and have the whole Cave filled with cheese,” he says with a smile.
Their excitement is contagious, as it’s obvious they have a passion for what they’re doing. Any equipment that could not be purchased, Ron designed and built himself. Their creativity and ingenuity are key to their growth. As is their love for the cheese.
Ron humbly tries to claim they are not experts in cheese-making and that “we just follow the recipe,” but one taste suggests the exact opposite. The Lubsens make Gouda from both raw and pasteurized milk, procured from Southern Oaks Jersey Farm in Abbeville and Milky Way Farm in Starr. Pasteurized milk allows them to make cheese faster as the raw milk variety demands a lengthier cure time. Impatient for the sweet, mild creaminess that makes Gouda one of the most popular cheeses in the world, they balance production for efficiency and flavor. The raw milk variety enhances the cheese’s natural nutty flavor, however, and the Lubsens admit that it is the one generating larger public demand.
In both cases, the cheese is as good as Gouda gets. In just this first year their cheese is quickly disappearing from shelves at local groceries across the Upstate, from Kitchen Emporium and Walker Century Farms in Anderson to The Grain Loft in Greer. Additionally, the response has been great every time Tammy sets up shop at area farmers markets.
Look for Forx Farm’s Goudas at your favorite local grocery store and markets this spring and taste it for yourself.
5575 Dobbins Bridge Road