June 9, 2014 -
Q+A WITH CO-OWNER OF YELLOW HOUSE CHEESE, Kristyn Henslee
Next up on the Plated Landscape schedule is Yellow House Cheese, a farm specializing in artisan-style aged cheeses that are handmade in their creamery in Seville, Ohio. We chatted with main “milk maid” Kristyn Henslee about what makes this family-operated farm so special.
Q. Yellow House Cheese is certainly making a name for itself. How do you set yourselves apart from other cheese producers?
A. We work hard and do everything ourselves. We milk our own animals. Everything is done by hand. We are genuine. And I think that it really comes out in our product. My girls and I laugh that “It’s made with love in Seville.” But it’s true.
Q. What are some of your specialty cheeses? Which ones will be making an appearance on the the Spice menu at this month’s Plated Landscape dinner?
A. When we started out, we were committed to making only blues because no one else is doing it in Ohio. So our farmstead sheep’s milk blue is our Yellow House Blue. It won an American Cheese Society Award in 2013, so that was pretty fun. We also make Wooster Pike Blue, a cow’s milk creamy blue cheese. Then I got bored and wanted to try something that wasn’t blue. So I crafted Kendall, a bloomy rind cow sheep milk blend that’s like a Camembert. And for those who don’t like a blue, I made Sunshine Gold that’s Wooster Pike minus the blue. It has a feta-like texture but also melts down really nicely in cheese sauces.
Q. Tell us about the art of making blue cheese.
A. It’s mostly magic. We’re still learning ourselves. The blue mold is directly inoculated into the milk at the start of the process. After it goes to the cave, we poke the cheeses with skewers to get oxygen into the cheese for the mold to bloom. Voodoo magic mostly. But temperature and humidity have a lot to do with it too. And lots of luck.
Q. What are some great ways we can integrate your cheese into our own dishes at home?
A. I’m not a cook. So I like to say that our cheeses are best enjoyed with some company and your favorite wine. But you can eat our cheeses on their own, burgers, salads… however you like!
Q. Where can we buy Yellow House Cheese?
A. We are now in select Heinen’s stores. That just started this month. And we are also at the North Union Shaker Square market, Chagrin Falls Market, Medina Farmer’s Market and the Countryside Conservancy Market in Akron. You can also find us in some pretty cool restaurants on the cheese plate.
(Editor’s Note: Yellow House Cheese is currently featured on the all-Ohio cheese plate at Spice Kitchen + Bar.)
Q. What is your mission as a local producer and how does it align with the Spice Companies sourcing philosophy?
A. Our mission was pretty well planned and to summarize, it’s to produce high quality, handmade, small batch cheeses focusing on high animal care standards while upholding the tradition on the family farm in local agriculture. Really, we just want to do the best we can with what we have and share it with others. We produce products with a value that is appreciated by the Spice philosophy. I really appreciate that Ben is a chef who does what he says he does. That doesn’t always happen in the local food movement.
Editor’s Note: The Yellow House Cheese Plated Landscape dinner will be hosted at the Henslee’s farm on Thursday, June 14th, 2014. Can’t make the event? Look for pictures to come!