Transcript for Episode 411 — David Hemme Cheesemaker & Dairy Farmer

September 13, 2023

This transcript accompanies episode 411, our conversation with artisan cheddar cheesemaker and dairy farmer David Hemme of Hemme brothers. We also have a list of some cheese vocabulary and definitions in this other post. Castmagic is the AI tool (link to Castmagic & give me a referral fee that doesn’t impact your cost) that helps with some of the content shared here and on social channels. 


Janice Person [00:00:02]:

Food is more than just what’s on our plate. It’s the places where it’s grown. It’s the people who grow it and so much more. Join me, Janice Person, your host on Grounded by the Farm every other week as we talk about the foods we love. Everybody, I am so excited. Do you remember I went to dairy farms and then I went to a cheese shop? Well, in my world, those two things have come together, and I’m in one glorious place in the middle of Missouri. Hemme brothers, they have a dairy. They have a creamery. So I can see calves and cows and also see cheese in the same place. I’m talking to David Hemme today. Thank you so much. This is the first cheese farmer I’ve met.

David Hemme [00:00:47]:

Cheese farmer. I’ve been called a lot of things. Some I can’t repeat, but I’ve never been called a cheese farmer.

Janice Person [00:00:53]:


David Hemme [00:00:54]:

But that’s okay.

Janice Person [00:00:54]:

That’s all right. Well, I think in the space where people are wanting to go from farm to table, all they got to do.

David Hemme [00:01:00]:

Is call David Well and we’ll fix it right up. The cheese is obviously a really big part of what we do here because we’re trying to put as much value that we have on this farm and sell it as cheese instead of just base commodities.

Janice Person [00:01:19]:


David Hemme [00:01:19]:

And our philosophy is very simple. We’re sit just a few miles off I 70. We’re an hour away from the Kansas City metro, an hour away from Columbia, and 3 hours away from St. Louis metro.

Janice Person [00:01:35]:


David Hemme [00:01:35]:

And so you don’t have to be a rocket scientist, know, looking at a map of the Midwest, very few people will have the advantages that we have of having so many people. Yes. And it’s the demographic that we appeal to in those three markets. And it’s not that we want to ignore the small towns or whatnot, but they look at piece of artisan cheese and they think, why in the hell would you buy that when I could go to Aldi’s and buy it for $3.50?

Janice Person [00:02:13]:

They aren’t like me. They don’t go, I’m going to meet the guy from the cheese that I bought at my local schnooks. I’m going to meet those guys. So you can buy it sometimes at grocery stores, you can buy it at the farmers markets. You can buy it at some of the specialty shops in all of those cities.

David Hemme [00:02:31]:

But it’s an artisan product.

Janice Person [00:02:33]:


David Hemme [00:02:34]:

The term foodie isn’t new by any means.

Janice Person [00:02:37]:


David Hemme [00:02:37]:

But that really is a demographic, the foodies and people that having that face with their food, because there’s a mistrust in society, in the food chain of what are being put in, what are the ingredients?

Janice Person [00:02:58]:

Well, people don’t know, and they don’t know the process. And I called and you said, yeah, we can go through and we’ll show you what we’re doing. And sad that I’m on Friday afternoon because you’re not making cheese right now, but we saw everything else.

David Hemme [00:03:14]:

That’s true.

Janice Person [00:03:16]:

I’m one of those people. Like my family is all those people. We love good food. Right. And we’re willing to pay extra for good food. That’s a special thing for us or whatever. Right. So there’s some cheeses where I’m making grilled cheeses for my lunch. And sometimes I’m okay with a Kraft single or something, but usually I want something else because it’s like my lunch and I’m going to really get a nice sourdough bread.

David Hemme [00:03:44]:

There’s nothing wrong with just making it once a week or once a month. I’m going to spoil myself a little bit and I’m going to spend that extra $2 for a nice piece of cheese instead of just a commodity cheese. We take a lot of pride in the fact that, A, we do not dye any of our cheese. We’ve been approached by numerous retailers that want us to do a shelf stable. Well, that’s a really nice way of saying that you pump it full of chemicals that won’t go bad. Yeah, that’s what shelf stable cheese is.

Janice Person [00:04:23]:

Yeah. Those little packets that I could put in my lunchbox when I was a kid, with the cheese on one side and the crackers on the other side and the little plastic knife.

David Hemme [00:04:31]:

And there’s some brands out there also, which I’m not going to point at, but they’ve made a killing at it. They’ve done very well with shelf stable.

Janice Person [00:04:39]:

Right. So tell me, what cheeses do you do? How did you decide what cheeses?

David Hemme [00:04:45]:

Well, when we started this, we went out and we borrowed every dime for this creamery and hadn’t done so much as made one batch of cheese in the kitchen.

Janice Person [00:04:56]:

Did you take classes somewhere?

David Hemme [00:04:58]:

No, we had it.

Janice Person [00:05:00]:

That’s what you call a leap of faith.

David Hemme [00:05:03]:

Well, there’s ways to get around it. And as far as the types of cheeses, our first cheese, Ron, is a guy that owns Better Cheddar on the Plaza downtown, at the Plaza in Kansas City. And I went in there one day before he made any decision on what cheese is. And I said, Ron, if you had to put every dime that you have into making one cheese and it had to be successful, what would it be? And he thought about it for a minute and he said, there’s a lot of really good cheddars out there, but Americans love cheddar. You make a good cheddar and you’ll have a market. And he was right, because the byproduct of making cheddar is very flexible. And you have cheese curds. Yeah, we’ll make an entire our vats are 3000 pounds of milk, so they’ll make around 350 pounds of cheese curds, which is roughly equates to a lot of people 700 bags of cheese curds of that. And we will put the whole dang that because in the bags. In the bags, yeah.

Janice Person [00:06:20]:

So explain in the process what the curds are, because a lot of people have never seen cheese made. And it was mind blowing to me the first time I saw it, and I was away behind glass and everything. And I’m like, that’s what a cheese curd is. Because quite frankly, I thought maybe they were just soft pieces of cheese.

David Hemme [00:06:38]:

Well, see, there’s a lot of misconception about what it is, okay, cheese curds, if it wouldn’t be for artisan producers, there would be no cheese curds because big plants don’t make it. It started way back, 70, 80 years ago, small little cheese plants in your local town. And every little town had a little.

Janice Person [00:07:06]:

Cheddar plant in the south. Nobody knew what cheese no, because you.

David Hemme [00:07:11]:

Don’T make cheese there. Well, Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, iowa.

Janice Person [00:07:15]:

I’m from Memphis, Tennessee. We didn’t have cheese curds for a long time.

David Hemme [00:07:19]:

You don’t because when you’re making cheese, you put to 46, 47 pounds into a quote unquote hoop. Then you press it overnight and then you have like a 42 pound block the next morning. And that’s how you sell that is how cheddar is sold is 42 pound block. Well, when you’re making cheese and you press these curds to make that block, but at the end of the day, that’s a lot. You have 27 pounds of curds left and won’t make a block. So what are you going to do with it? You discount it and working class families would come to the creameries at the end of the day.

Janice Person [00:08:03]:

That would be a beautiful way to have cheese. And it’s not aged, it’s not cheese.

David Hemme [00:08:07]:

It’s very green. And for working class families, that was a very low cost protein source for their diets. So that’s how the culture was. And then that kind of has disappeared as these cheese plants are so huge today. But there’s always been that underlying I just love cheese. Yeah, I just love cheese. And so, like I say, we just make a whole batch of cheese curds, which is fine.

Janice Person [00:08:37]:

It’s funny because a few years ago I was doing something with a group in Wisconsin and they wanted to send me a cheese package and I was going to be at my mom’s, so I said send it to my mom’s in Memphis. And cheese curds were among the things in the package. Right. And so we had to have this conversation because she doesn’t ever see them in her grocery store, hardly. Now they’re beginning to pop up a little bit here and there in different places because I think people are learning, hey, this is kind of a neat thing and people are into sustainability. They love that. You’re not wasting anything too. That’s an extra reason to buy them.

David Hemme [00:09:14]:

Well, at the end of the day, it has to be 10oz because that’s what our packaging says. So if there may be four or 5oz left over, we’ll ziploc those. You make a lot of friends when can’t sell them, so you give them away. And I see my retailers looking at me like, wonder if he has any samples. He’s given away extra. And that’s going back to why we started with cheddar. That’s why because of the versatility. And since then we’ve added a spreadable, German cheese. Nobody knows what it is.

Janice Person [00:09:52]:

It sounds like there was a computer program or something called.

David Hemme [00:09:58]:

You know, and most people don’t realize that over half the cheese consumed in Germany, Poland and Austria is cork.

Janice Person [00:10:07]:


David Hemme [00:10:08]:

But it can be anything. Ours is actually on the dry side, which is meant for baking. You can have you’ve had it though.

Janice Person [00:10:16]:

I haven’t I’m going to have to take some with me when I go.

David Hemme [00:10:19]:

There’s really no taste. Think of what we have. There’s no taste. Think of a dry plain yogurt. Plain yogurt has no taste. Yeah, it just has the yogurty tang and then you add things to it.

Janice Person [00:10:33]:

Yeah. It’ll pick up the flavor of whatever.

David Hemme [00:10:35]:

You put in whatever you put in it. And that’s why most of what we sell goes into food service, because chefs love that component because they can do all the flavoring and go 1000 different ways.

Janice Person [00:10:47]:

Yeah. One of the ways you were telling me you do something with honey and blueberries.

David Hemme [00:10:51]:

Honey and blueberries, yeah. So you have this smooth creaminess. Think of all the different types of chevs and what they do is it’s the same principle. Chev really has no taste. So what do they do? They put this and that and whatever topping on it.

Janice Person [00:11:11]:

Pistachios and all those kind of things.

David Hemme [00:11:14]:

And all that sort of neat stuff. Now we do sell the only flavored one that we have is honey cork. And in Germany that is a thing add because well, just think of it. Okay, so what do you have there? You have pasteurized, milk and honey. And you give you the flavor profile of it’s like as decadent as cake icing.

Janice Person [00:11:42]:

Just sit there eating cake.

David Hemme [00:11:43]:

Yeah, but there’s no guilt. There’s no guilt. I mean, it’s pasteurized, milk, honey, got.

Janice Person [00:11:48]:

Some sugar, but it’s honey.

David Hemme [00:11:49]:

It’s honey? Yeah, it’s honey. You don’t really have to feel guilty about eating that. And that’s really what the arts and food is.

Janice Person [00:12:00]:

Your family got a German background or something?

David Hemme [00:12:03]:

I’m 100% German.

Janice Person [00:12:04]:


David Hemme [00:12:04]:

Yeah. All my family tree and actually we visited seven years ago, 17, my wife and I visited the Hemme farm in Germany, their dairy farm. That does value added nice. And it’s just like just unbelievable. I mean, we walked in there and I could have a conversation with them. That farm has been in the oldest son always got the farm.

Janice Person [00:12:32]:

I love it.

David Hemme [00:12:33]:

It’s been in the farm since 15 or the farm has been in the family since 1589.

Janice Person [00:12:38]:


David Hemme [00:12:38]:

Right now it’s 18th consecutive generation and 11 September, he’ll be here and I get to show him my dairy farm.

Janice Person [00:12:47]:

That’s really cool.

David Hemme [00:12:49]:

Yes, I’m really looking forward to it.

Janice Person [00:12:51]:

That’s really cool. I’m sure he is really looking forward.

David Hemme [00:12:54]:

He and his two oldest kids are coming over. He’s going to spend about ten days touring dairies in the United States, and this is his last stop before he goes home. But, yeah, that’s going to be super cool.

Janice Person [00:13:06]:

Oh, wow. I love it. Okay, so you do the cheddar was where he started and then you did this quart, and now what all have you done to the cheddar and what else are you doing?

David Hemme [00:13:18]:

Well, the cheddar is basically having got seven flavors of block and probably adding a couple more there because we don’t have a retail of our own yet. A couple of years we do have blueprint. I don’t know when we build that. But then this past winter, we did add a melting cheese.

Janice Person [00:13:38]:

Oh, yeah, you showed me that in there.

David Hemme [00:13:42]:

Yeah. And we didn’t know what to call it. It melts well, great stretch, good flavor. So we decided to call it pizza cheese. Well, it works great for the Italians.

Janice Person [00:13:54]:

Love that.

David Hemme [00:13:55]:

Don’t make a difference. When we thought we would at least find some artisan pizza places that would use it. And we were wrong. Not one. Not one. Because cheese to any pizza is just the low grade cheese you can buy. It is fat free, every one of them, because they’ll do the flavoring with their sauce and their toppings and all they have cheese there for is yeah. So that has been a bust as far as pizza. But we’re finding that, for instance, like Kansas City, look at the census. There’s 400,001st generation Hispanics that live in the Kansas City metro and they hate American version of Hispanic cheese.

Janice Person [00:14:53]:

Because I go to a Hispanic market myself for things, right?

David Hemme [00:14:58]:

Yeah. Because they pull the fat and then they add just enough fat to where they can sell it. But it’s just not the same because they don’t have the separation capabilities in the Hispanic countries. It’s all full fat.

Janice Person [00:15:14]:


David Hemme [00:15:15]:

And that’s what they used to. That’s what they like. And so we’re having we thought it was going to be a piece of cheese is probably going to wind up being a quesadilla. Quesadilla. Queso. Which is fine.

Janice Person [00:15:28]:

Honey, I can tell you listening to this podcast, there are crazed queso fans. Like when you’re a queso fan, you’re one for life. It’s a special space.

David Hemme [00:15:41]:

So we’ll see what road that takes us. And then this time of year, we start about the 1 May this year, and we’ll go through probably Labor Day weekend with fresh mozzarella.

Janice Person [00:15:55]:


David Hemme [00:15:56]:

Fresh mozzarella. People ask why is the season?

Janice Person [00:15:59]:

Oh, my God.

David Hemme [00:16:01]:

And it is unbelievable. The American mindset is summer ends Labor Day weekend.

Janice Person [00:16:11]:


David Hemme [00:16:12]:

Capraze salads. Also end Labor Day weekend.

Janice Person [00:16:16]:

Not mine. Not in my house. Never in my house.

David Hemme [00:16:20]:

But our savory.

Janice Person [00:16:21]:

I know.

David Hemme [00:16:22]:

Absolutely. And we’re tying up an entire VAT.

Janice Person [00:16:25]:

To make a fresh mozzarella is my favorite grilled cheese.

David Hemme [00:16:29]:

Oh, yeah, it’s wonderful.

Janice Person [00:16:31]:

With, like, some pesto in there, maybe. Oh, my gosh. It’s like a savory one. Then if I put some BlackBerry jam in there, it’s a sweet. Mm. I’m all over the fresh mozzarella, but I lived in New York for years, and I was used to being able to get it all year long. And you found different things to do with mozzarella because you could always get it right out of the water.

David Hemme [00:16:52]:

Well, here, I’m guessing maybe 70%.

Janice Person [00:17:00]:

And it’s fresh product, so you can’t just carry it over forever.

David Hemme [00:17:03]:

Well, you stick it in freezer. Yeah, it does freeze halfway is decent, but we’re not set up to freeze a whole set up to freeze huge amounts.

Janice Person [00:17:15]:

Yeah. And it stays around. That’s interesting. So do you have something else that’s currently a seasonal product?

David Hemme [00:17:23]:

Well, actually, artisan cheese, to some degree is seasonal.

Janice Person [00:17:29]:


David Hemme [00:17:30]:

In that we have burgers, smokehouse, and I think they took this year right. At 60,000 blocks. And that is for the gift boxes.

Janice Person [00:17:43]:


David Hemme [00:17:44]:

So that’s seasonal.

Janice Person [00:17:46]:

Like a heavier smoked might be more popular in the winter. No.

David Hemme [00:17:50]:

Well, I can’t say that actually our brother’s keeper, our sharp cheddar. Yeah.

Janice Person [00:17:56]:

It’s year round.

David Hemme [00:17:57]:

Year round.

Janice Person [00:17:58]:


David Hemme [00:17:59]:

Yeah. But we’ll sell more of it because people will spend more money on an artisan project for Thanksgiving, Christmas.

Janice Person [00:18:08]:

They want to have all the nipples around the house. Yeah.

David Hemme [00:18:10]:

They want to make it something special.

Janice Person [00:18:12]:


David Hemme [00:18:13]:

And then come January, February, March, it’s a desert around here. Their credit cards are maxed out, and Heather went back to Velveeta.

Janice Person [00:18:32]:

When you go back to Velveeta, and.

David Hemme [00:18:35]:

Then reality sets into all the sin that you committed for the last eight days.

Janice Person [00:18:46]:

You eat all the things you were supposed to have been eating all year long. You suddenly remember it in January and February, and you start eating the way you were supposed to a little bit more often and having those special days a little less often.

David Hemme [00:19:00]:

Well, unfortunately, yeah.

Janice Person [00:19:02]:

You said that your family in Germany has been at it for 15 generations or something. 18. Okay. So how long have you guys been in the dairy business?

David Hemme [00:19:13]:

The first weekend of Missouri State fair seven years ago. That was the first day that we sold cheese.

Janice Person [00:19:24]:

So you’ve been doing cheese for seven years. How long have you been doing cows? Dairy.

David Hemme [00:19:29]:

Dairy cows. My dad milk, and he sold them, and I got back into them.

Janice Person [00:19:33]:

So your dad had cows?

David Hemme [00:19:36]:

Every generation has had cows, but dairy cows are something that that’s a lot of work. You have to be a grinder, people say. I just don’t know how you stand doing that every day.

Janice Person [00:19:50]:

The hustle no, you got it.

David Hemme [00:19:51]:

No, it’s not every day. It’s every 12 hours. Every time that 05:00 rolls around, you know where you’re at. So if you’re not a grinder, you’ll hate your life. I love cows, and so that’s one problem for me.

Janice Person [00:20:11]:

And you have family that love cows. Like, you’ve got sons and all in.

David Hemme [00:20:18]:

The mean, I would I would say that, like, Michael right now is the cow manager, the milking herd. You’ll have to go a long way to find somebody better than he is in regards to managing the cows. A dairy cow demands the same type of work that your marriage does. You can’t take a day off. You can’t let it slide. You have to work at it every day.

Janice Person [00:20:53]:

Surely somebody gives him a vacation every now and then, but otherwise, he’s on it every day.

David Hemme [00:20:58]:

Well, not very often. Shannon and I for years, we didn’t take a vacation.

Janice Person [00:21:06]:

Yeah. So you have a son that does cows. You have a son that does crops.

David Hemme [00:21:13]:

He does crops because you got to feed the cows. Yeah. And he does the replacement.

Janice Person [00:21:18]:

Heifers okay.

David Hemme [00:21:19]:

And then Nathan does cheesemaker, manages the creamery, and he has bees for the honey. For the honey, yeah, to put in our cheese. And then we take the whey from the cheese production, and then we feed it to Berkshires, and then I take that’s where the charcuterie comes from.

Janice Person [00:21:44]:

Oh, my gosh.

David Hemme [00:21:45]:

Well, yeah, because it’s way fed Berkshires. I mean, how exclusive is that?

Janice Person [00:21:50]:

So I do know a few people who have Berkshires, and I do know people who have done things like walnut fed and stuff, but in California, but whey fed pigs.

David Hemme [00:22:05]:

So you can make that is like summer sausages. Oh, no.

Janice Person [00:22:10]:

All the things what do you make?

David Hemme [00:22:12]:

And everybody has summer sausage.

Janice Person [00:22:15]:

I did not mean to offend.

David Hemme [00:22:18]:

Well, when you’re in the business we’re in, people want to go up a.

Janice Person [00:22:24]:

Little bit higher every time.

David Hemme [00:22:25]:

That’s why we have soprasada we have finiciona. We have capacola. We have Spanish chorizo. We have sweet bologna. We have the things that are really nice, because if we go to the St. Louis side of the state, those folks over there really do a great job.

Janice Person [00:22:45]:

The hill section, we really like good Italian food.

David Hemme [00:22:48]:

You can go from know, you have volpe down there. You have salumi bedou, which are killer. And then every little meat shop down all the way down to Jefferson City, they all do a great job.

Janice Person [00:23:05]:


David Hemme [00:23:06]:

You go to, you know, they’re all wonderful. And so we go there. And one thing that we haven’t done yet, we’re waiting for certification, but it’s a lawn yager.

Janice Person [00:23:23]:

Tell me more.

David Hemme [00:23:24]:

Yager is a German word for hunter. It’s a hunter’s sausage, and it was a precursor to the snack stick. And so what you would do when you go out to hunt, you would go to the smokehouse and tear off a piece of sausage, and you wrap it up in a cloth, and you stick in your pocket for a snack.

Janice Person [00:23:44]:


David Hemme [00:23:46]:

Has really good flavor.

Janice Person [00:23:50]:

All right, now, I’m looking for that. When you get it done, go to Herman.

David Hemme [00:23:55]:

Oh, no. Go to the variant smokehouse in new melee. Yeah, you can go these little German shops all over the place and you can find line.

Janice Person [00:24:04]:

Yagger, nice. Okay.

David Hemme [00:24:06]:

But that’s kind of stuff that we want to do, we want to do the stuff that you’re not going to go into your local grocery store yet because we want to separate ourselves from the average, ordinary from the standard. If you want something that’s really nice, it’s really good. Highest quality, don’t pay more for it. But we can’t go out here and compete with Kraft and Tyson.

Janice Person [00:24:36]:


David Hemme [00:24:36]:

The only thing that we can do is have a much higher quality product and then charge more for.

Janice Person [00:24:42]:


David Hemme [00:24:43]:

That’s the only way we can survive. And we keep a very close eye that our quality is where it needs to be or else I’m a bit.

Janice Person [00:24:50]:

Of a cheese snob. I’ve been willing to accept that title for a long time. I still eat block cheeses that are in the grocery store and stuff too. I mean, I like cheese, it’s not a problem. But I do always have some nicer cheese that I’m trying or tasting or doing something different with. Now one of the things I asked you is like how do you decide what flavors to offer because besides cheddar then how do you start deciding? You want to smoke it with this kind of wood or that kind of flavor.

David Hemme [00:25:28]:

Like I was telling you earlier when we went to the American Cheese Society, people don’t even realize there is one of those but it’s a big deal. Any event, artisan cheesemakers from all over the western hemisphere talking about South America, central North America, they all come together in one spot and one night they have what they call meet the cheesemaker and then they open it up to the public. Public can go in there and sample, I need there’s 3000 cheeses, artisan cheeses that are out there and they’re cut toothpicks, go and you try all these cheeses. That’s how we decided what we wanted to make is we would go through there and that’s how we wound up making an espresso.

Janice Person [00:26:19]:

Cheddar, that’s a weird one. I just have to say espresso. I get it. Cheddar. It sounds different.

David Hemme [00:26:28]:

Well, it does. It sounds weird and people are kind of taken back. But nobody’s taken back by putting cream in their coffee.

Janice Person [00:26:36]:

Not at all.

David Hemme [00:26:36]:

No, see that’s normal. It’s the same thing. It’s only the other way around.

Janice Person [00:26:43]:

I love it. I’m going to have to try it.

David Hemme [00:26:47]:

People that try it love it. And if you look at it, you think you’re going to be sucking on coffee grounds. It looks awful. I think the look probably has more to turn people off than the sound.

Janice Person [00:27:04]:

It’s it’s kind of hard to imagine how many different cheeses there are at a thing like the American Cheese Society. But the girls from Sweet Freedom Cheese down in Fayetteville Bentonville area, they said that’s like going to.

David Hemme [00:27:24]:

You know, I’m not a huge fan of goat cheese. That you will find just commodity goat cheese. Now, if you go there, they have goat cheese. That is absolutely the most wonderful cheese you’ll ever have.

Janice Person [00:27:41]:

Now, you told me there was a really good goat cheese near St. Louis.

David Hemme [00:27:44]:

Oh, yeah. 2 hours south. Beige Farms.

Janice Person [00:27:47]:

See, I’m getting that recorded now because I did not write it down.

David Hemme [00:27:50]:

Okay. Yep. Baji Farms is 2 hours south, Bloomsdale, Missouri.

Janice Person [00:27:55]:


David Hemme [00:27:55]:

And they compete on a world stage, their cheeses. And they should, because they do an outstanding job. But you have to do an outstanding job with your goats, and you have.

Janice Person [00:28:06]:

To do it on a consistent basis. Like, you can’t have any.

David Hemme [00:28:12]:

It’S it’s harder than Cheddar. Cheddar is much more forgiving.

Janice Person [00:28:17]:

So where else in the like, what other cheeses do you really love? I mean, obviously, we’ve already told everybody, go get the Hemme brothers. And they can get that at the Columbia Farmers Market. The one in Oberlin Park. They can get it where else?

David Hemme [00:28:35]:

Well, you can go on the St. Louis side of the state. We’re in 95 snooks. We’re in Deerburg’s, I think with five or seven cheeses in Deerburgs now. And then you look around between myself being a distributor on that side of the state, taking little wineries and whatnot, and our distributor there, Fox River, you can find a lot of smaller shops. Whatnot then?

Janice Person [00:29:02]:

I love a good cheese shop. Seriously, there’s like, the thing about shopping for groceries versus shopping for cheese. I want it to be like a special area of the store, not just like the little shelf like when I was a kid and I’d go to pick up cheese, I want an area where I can see all kinds of different things and taste them preferably. And that’s why a cheese shop comes in so handy.

David Hemme [00:29:27]:

I see. We started making artisan cheese seven years ago, nine years ago when we first started this process. Start the planning of it when you.

Janice Person [00:29:36]:

Started asking for money from the bank.

David Hemme [00:29:40]:

I had never had what I would consider to be a decent piece of cheese in my life because out here in rural Missouri, it’s just not offered. There’s not a deli section that has nice cheeses. You just have the dairy section that has your commodity cheeses. And that’s just what we had. We didn’t have access to it. And then we were using a consultant, and they took us to the better Cheddar, and they don’t do it anymore, but at that time, they could sample.

Janice Person [00:30:13]:


David Hemme [00:30:13]:

And then, oh, my gosh, you can.

Janice Person [00:30:15]:

Still at the Sweet Freedom in Bentonville. And I may have worn her out while I was.

David Hemme [00:30:23]:

You know every health department looks at that a little different. We’ve been finding that out.

Janice Person [00:30:28]:

Depends on states, depends on cities, depends on all those things. Yeah. Okay.

David Hemme [00:30:34]:

And then there’s just some unbelievably good cheeses.

Janice Person [00:30:37]:

So where are some of the other names that we should look for when we’re in these really good cheeses? Like other farms? That do.

David Hemme [00:30:44]:

Okay. We’ve already mentioned beige.

Janice Person [00:30:46]:


David Hemme [00:30:46]:

Now, up here at Weston, there’s green dirt farms.

Janice Person [00:30:51]:

Green dirt farms.

David Hemme [00:30:53]:

Unbelievably good.

Janice Person [00:30:55]:

What are they making?

David Hemme [00:30:56]:

They make sheep cheese. They milk sheep.

Janice Person [00:30:59]:


David Hemme [00:31:01]:

And they will sell this in little bitty, I don’t know, maybe four ounce containers.

Janice Person [00:31:06]:

The little round ones.

David Hemme [00:31:08]:

Yes. It is just the best cheese you’ve ever had. The problem that they have with it, I wouldn’t say this is a great business model in that they struggle with shelf life.

Janice Person [00:31:22]:

Oh, yeah.

David Hemme [00:31:23]:

And so they make it. First thing they got to do is take this up to Kansas International in dry ice and fly it to one of the coast.

Janice Person [00:31:31]:

Oh, okay.

David Hemme [00:31:32]:

Well, that’s expensive. And so Tommy gets to this little cheese shop in Boston or San Francisco. Well, it’s already pretty darlic on pricey.

Janice Person [00:31:43]:


David Hemme [00:31:43]:

And so they struggle with that. But as far as you want to.

Janice Person [00:31:47]:

Have, whereas you’ve got lots of people for cheddar’s right here in your backyard.

David Hemme [00:31:51]:

And they know what it is. But as far as great cheese, they have great cheese. The best blue that I’ve ever had came out of Oregon.

Janice Person [00:31:59]:

Rogue. I’ve been there.

David Hemme [00:32:00]:

Rogue river blue.

Janice Person [00:32:02]:

Been there. I’ve got my cheese snob roots showing clearly.

David Hemme [00:32:09]:

Oh, my gosh. The French did not take it well when they took that Rogue River blue to international competition and won. And the French think they’re the only ones that can actually make cheese.

Janice Person [00:32:22]:


David Hemme [00:32:22]:

And they went in there, and they kicked butt. But we were there last I guess it’s been about 18 months ago we were there, and we went through the plant near Ashland, Oregon.

Janice Person [00:32:35]:

I can’t remember which town. I can’t remember either, but it’s southern Oregon.

David Hemme [00:32:39]:

Yeah. We went to see the cows, and then it’s actually quite a drive to the creamery. And then they went through the process of they’ll taste and see if it qualifies in their mind to be good enough to go ahead and put the robe name on the grape leaves, the brandy’s grape leaves on it to really enhance that flavor, because that is expensive.

Janice Person [00:33:07]:


David Hemme [00:33:08]:

And some of them that aren’t very good with smoke.

Janice Person [00:33:12]:

Yeah, well, you guys don’t use grape leaves. You use wood boxes, though.

David Hemme [00:33:17]:

Well, when cryovac now, if you want to have our cheese that is killer, go to the I don’t have one. I need to get one from him anyway. His name is Lincoln Broad Books. He’s a manager there. To better cheddar, he will buy one of our 40 pound blocks, and he will do an old world aging on it. Down in the basement, they have a walk in cooler down there. So what he does is he takes this, and he wants a young cheddar. Hopefully, it’s less than a day old. Then he. Takes down there, he melts lard, and then he’ll get his glove on and he’ll take this lard and he’ll cover this 40 pound block of cheese and lard, and then set it on a shelf for a year and let it make its own rind.

Janice Person [00:34:15]:

Get out.

David Hemme [00:34:16]:

No. Go down to the Better Cheddar and look for 40 Eigth Street Reserve.

Janice Person [00:34:22]:


David Hemme [00:34:22]:

And it has our name right on it, but there’s a hard rind. But outside of that thing is the most multicolored mold you’ve ever seen in your life. And you open up the door to that.

Janice Person [00:34:36]:

You smile so much when you say, oh, my gosh, this mold the way if only people could see the stars in your eyes. Most people don’t think of mold that way.

David Hemme [00:34:46]:

It is the coolest. It’s like, for instance, like Volpe or they purposely spray these spores on that salami. Mold grow and it just enhances these flavors.

Janice Person [00:35:02]:

And that’s the same thing for really good country ham.

David Hemme [00:35:05]:

Yeah, absolutely. A smoked ham is going to be just a moldy mess. And I’ve done capacola here just for me. And I’ve bought the spores and let it turn green for six weeks at 60 degrees. Cut it off vinegar and water and a rag, and I just washed it off and cut into it. But in American culture, mold is everything. Moldy goes to the dumpster.

Janice Person [00:35:37]:


David Hemme [00:35:38]:

But when we build our retail, we are going to have a walk in cooler with glass on the retail side where people can come in and see what you’re doing to develop it. Old World aging process is we take for granted that gets well, there’s always been refrigeration.

Janice Person [00:35:59]:


David Hemme [00:36:00]:

Well, no, refrigeration is very new.

Janice Person [00:36:03]:

Yeah. Ice boxes.

David Hemme [00:36:04]:

Yes. And so what did the English and the Irish do for the Cheddars way back when? They would either do that or what they call bandage wrap cheddar. And it’s kind of like a gunny sack, and you wrap it up in a gunny sack, and then you soak the gunny sack with lard, and then you would set it in a cave.

Janice Person [00:36:23]:


David Hemme [00:36:25]:

And you’d let it age in there. Then whenever you needed cheese, you go in there and then you clean it off the best you wanted to. There’s your cheese.

Janice Person [00:36:35]:

Yeah. I’m glad we’re not just doing it in the caves anymore.

David Hemme [00:36:42]:

Well, FDA wasn’t around back, I guess.

Janice Person [00:36:47]:

Right, right. And if you wanted to do that for yourself, that’s fine for you to do at home, but not for sale in the market.

David Hemme [00:36:56]:

Lincoln at the Better Cheddar, it’s not just our cheese. He’s trying several other cheesemakers, and he’s doing that down there in his basement, and it’s available for sale. And it’s 40 Eigth Street Reserve. His Old World aged cheddar is his best selling cheese in the whole shop.

Janice Person [00:37:15]:

And it’s all value added to him, too, like you value added? Well, let’s just say he added value.

David Hemme [00:37:21]:

There, but he’s in the higher rent district. And he doesn’t sell cheese by the pound. He sells by the ounce.

Janice Person [00:37:29]:


David Hemme [00:37:30]:

And so you go in there for your Rogue River Blue at $52 a pound. Well, no, you’re going to buy $17 worth because you’re buying 4oz.

Janice Person [00:37:40]:


David Hemme [00:37:42]:

So I don’t begrudge him farming for every dollar that he pays us, the consumer pays seven.

Janice Person [00:37:49]:


David Hemme [00:37:50]:

And I don’t begrudge him that because he’s earned every bit of it.

Janice Person [00:37:53]:

Yeah. It’s a process, and you’ve got to be willing to do it.

David Hemme [00:37:56]:

Yeah. And you’re cutting this stuff down.

Janice Person [00:37:58]:


David Hemme [00:38:00]:

Like I say, the rent on the plaza, I know what those rents are, and it’ll scare the oh, my gosh.

Janice Person [00:38:08]:

So tell me, what are your favorite ways to enjoy cheese? How do you eat cheese the most, or, like, as a special thing? What would you do?

David Hemme [00:38:19]:

Well, for instance, this Sunday, we take turns. Our Bible class takes turns with snacks.

Janice Person [00:38:27]:


David Hemme [00:38:27]:

And so it’s Caprizi season, obviously, tomatoes are beautiful. Yeah. And so I’m going to do that, and I’m going to go the baker there and pick up a couple of chabadas, and then I have my soprasada, and then I’ll have some grapes, and I’ll have kind of an Italian theme Sunday. That’ll be great. And then later in the year, I’ll probably pick out three or four cheeses and some meats, and then I’ll probably add honey to the cork, and I’ll get some really thin wafer crackers that really don’t have any flavor, just something to carry the cork. And we always have some fruit with it, too.

Janice Person [00:39:08]:


David Hemme [00:39:09]:

It just depends on the season. We want to do something more seasonal.

Janice Person [00:39:14]:

Yeah. And at home, how should I be treating my cheese?

David Hemme [00:39:21]:

How should you be what?

Janice Person [00:39:22]:

Treating my cheese. Like, what should I be doing with cheese when I buy it? Should I just eat it right then?

David Hemme [00:39:28]:

Eat it. When we were visiting my seven years, when we were visiting my very distant German relative, we have butter on our counter. Always have.

Janice Person [00:39:41]:

Yeah. We’ve never have a butter dish.

David Hemme [00:39:43]:

Butter dish. They have a cheese dish. So they buy a piece of cheese, they put it in their dish, and they eat it. Novel concept to most Americans is just go ahead and eat it.

Janice Person [00:39:59]:


David Hemme [00:39:59]:

Because they don’t.

Janice Person [00:40:00]:

When you come through the kitchen, have another snack, cut a piece off.

David Hemme [00:40:04]:

Yeah, but.

Janice Person [00:40:07]:

It’S different culturally. Very different. Yeah.

David Hemme [00:40:09]:


Janice Person [00:40:11]:


David Hemme [00:40:12]:

For instance, like our brother’s keeper aged cheddar grilling season for an appetizer, we’ll snap the stem out of a Portobella and put just a little piece of the Brother’s Keeper in it and then just melt. It just a killer appetizer. It’s really simple. I saved the stems for a salad, and yeah, you’re not looking at Betty Crocker.

Janice Person [00:40:46]:

That’s okay.

David Hemme [00:40:48]:

No, you don’t have to.

Janice Person [00:40:53]:

You have cheese on your mind. How many hours of the day every day?

David Hemme [00:40:57]:

Well, the problem is I’m around it maybe too much.

Janice Person [00:41:00]:

Yeah. But you end up knowing different things than other people. Other people can come at it with a creative lens and say, well, for.

David Hemme [00:41:07]:

Instance, we have one of our distributors, budwood Farms, out of California, Missouri, and they do free range chickens, wonderful poultry. I mean, we’re talking about, oh, my gosh, I didn’t know chicken could taste like this. It’s that good. But then we had our melting cheese and so chicken marsala.

Janice Person [00:41:26]:


David Hemme [00:41:28]:

Which we would have never without getting into the artisan food business, we wouldn’t have been exposed to all these things. I’ve got a chef right now that’s using our melting cheese, our pizza cheese, and he’s using a potato pasta.

Janice Person [00:41:45]:

Yeah. Like noki.

David Hemme [00:41:47]:

And then putting that cheese on the inside of it and then melting it.

Janice Person [00:41:54]:

People in Sweet Springs, Missouri, don’t usually know about those things unless they get into artisan cheese.

David Hemme [00:42:01]:

They don’t. And like I say, when we do build our retail, it’s going to have a retail store, and then it will have a cafe.

Janice Person [00:42:11]:


David Hemme [00:42:11]:

We’re going to have a seasonal cafe. And then your bulletin boards, long I 70, are going to look a little different because in the summertime, we’ll have Capra salad or then we’ll have gourmet.

Janice Person [00:42:23]:

When is this retail store supposed to open?

David Hemme [00:42:26]:

Well, you tell me what the Federal Reserve is going to do with interest rates. We are concerned about interest rates as far as costing it’s more to borrow money.

Janice Person [00:42:35]:


David Hemme [00:42:35]:

But I need a strong consumer.

Janice Person [00:42:37]:


David Hemme [00:42:37]:

And what they’re trying to do is weaken the consumer. And so I’m old enough that I remember the 80s, which were bloodbath in agriculture. And I’m going to wait.

Janice Person [00:42:52]:

I do, too.

David Hemme [00:42:53]:

I don’t need another bloodbath.

Janice Person [00:42:56]:

None of us do. Let’s change the subject because that is really sad.

David Hemme [00:43:02]:

On the back of all of our T shirts.

Janice Person [00:43:05]:

Oh, yeah.

David Hemme [00:43:06]:

On the back, it says better from the beginning.

Janice Person [00:43:09]:

Says it on your hat, says it on your T shirt.

David Hemme [00:43:12]:

Yeah. And really that is the theme, because we start from the ground up. And so with my son John, that does the agronomy, we’re doing the regenerative AG. And so we are actually Mars Candy Company sent us a check last year because we have an excess of carbon credit.

Janice Person [00:43:35]:

Yeah. You’re storing so much carbon because they can’t.

David Hemme [00:43:39]:

So they send us a check and that away. It’s like Google. Every once in a while, you’ll see Google stuff will pop up, says carbon neutral since whatever year. Well, that’s what they’re doing, is buying carbon credits. And that’s what we’re doing, is we’re not doing it for the check. We’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do. We want to take the carbon out of the air and then turn that into organic matter in the soil.

Janice Person [00:44:03]:

It does so much better when there are things actively growing, because plants can then sequester carbon. So the summer, we typically have a lot of things being sequestered. Are you guys able to do, like, cover crops or something so that you can sequester more of the year?

David Hemme [00:44:23]:

Okay. I’ll take a farm that Nathan bought for an example. Not a farm. It’s acreage, 20 acres. So we had wheat this past year. We combined the wheat and got a wheat crop. Right now, it’s buckwheat, some different snow peas, sunflowers, Sudan, you name. There’s just a cornucopia of different things growing. And right now, it’s probably about neck high on us.

Janice Person [00:44:55]:


David Hemme [00:44:56]:

Neck high on mean.

Janice Person [00:44:58]:

And so you’ve let it grow up so that it almost looks like nature, even though it’s a cover crop of things.

David Hemme [00:45:05]:

Yeah. And there’s this blend because we’re trying to, like, buckwheat. It’s really good as far as taking phosphorus out of the air and put it in the ground.

Janice Person [00:45:15]:

Okay. Buckwheat is better at that than other.

David Hemme [00:45:18]:

Things than, say, sunflowers.

Janice Person [00:45:20]:

Like soybeans pull more things and put nitrogen in.

David Hemme [00:45:24]:

Yeah, that’s legume so it can put nitrogen in. And so we have this mix. So we’ll let this thing just grow, and then the frost will come, and all these things are going to die because frost kill them all. Then we’ll go in with a winter annual, which will be like rye.

Janice Person [00:45:42]:


David Hemme [00:45:43]:

Cereal rye. And it’ll grow anytime. It’s over freezing. Cereal rye will grow. So by February, that field will be green again, even though it’s the middle of winter. It will be capturing carbon, putting carbon in the soil. And then when it warms up, well, man, she really gets going. Then we’ll go ahead and kill it. And then we’ll plant the soybeans. Right. And in between all that, we will take some composted dairy manure that we have here and hit it with that. And the first thing you know, we’ll have that place turned around, but we have to do these steps as far as getting the air cleaned up. And the irony is, if we took all the carbon that’s put in the air from the United States, the entire European Union and Japan is less carbon put in the air than China is putting in their air.

Janice Person [00:46:41]:


David Hemme [00:46:42]:

And you know what? We all have to share that air.

Janice Person [00:46:45]:

It’s a collective air. We don’t get to claim we can’t.

David Hemme [00:46:50]:

Say, okay, well, we did our part, so we have clean air.

Janice Person [00:46:53]:

Well, you can see that when this age of wildfires that happen in Canada and then turn our it’s everybody’s air. So we all have some responsibility to take action.

David Hemme [00:47:05]:

So this is something that’s going to be ongoing for a long time.

Janice Person [00:47:09]:

That’s just a new farm that you’ve taken over a field of.

David Hemme [00:47:12]:

Yeah, well, Nathan had bought and off of an estate, and unfortunately, a lot of branded farms are that know, the landowners don’t want to spend any money. And so when you get a new ownership, though, then we’re starting you got.

Janice Person [00:47:28]:

To make up for it.

David Hemme [00:47:29]:

So it’ll take us 15 years to get it to where we need it to be. But we’ve been here since 1838 by.

Janice Person [00:47:37]:

The time Nathan’s kids or somebody’s nephews.

David Hemme [00:47:41]:

My grandkids, are 8th generation and they look like they’re going to want to farm. So that is the part that probably is the most rewarding is that I see my sons with the attitude, that legacy. If you go through life and all you do is take and go through it with a narcissistic attitude, it’s all about me. I’m going to take, I’m going to enjoy, I’m going to do blah, blah, blah. At the end of the day, it’s a real shallow existence.

Janice Person [00:48:22]:


David Hemme [00:48:23]:

You should be measured by what you give, not by what you take.

Janice Person [00:48:27]:

The power is definitely in the give.

David Hemme [00:48:30]:

Yeah, that’s right. My grandfather, way back in the day, he was one of the first that terrorist. And my dad’s always been conservation minded. I have been and now my kids are. And it’s always that we want to preserve what we have because maybe our kids will do it and if they don’t, somebody will be using that to produce food.

Janice Person [00:48:55]:

There’s always a need for food.

David Hemme [00:48:57]:

There’s always going to be a need for food. That’s an everyday thing. And so we want to make sure that we are good stewards of what we have been put in charge of from the time that we have here on this earth.

Janice Person [00:49:08]:

That’s a much better finale. So now I should ask you if people want to find you, it’s

David Hemme [00:49:16]:, that’s right.

Janice Person [00:49:18]:

Aria on all the social media channels.

David Hemme [00:49:21]:

Heck, I don’t know that’s for somebody else. I know they do Instagram, okay? I know that much.

Janice Person [00:49:27]:

I know they do Instagram. All right, well, we are going to.

David Hemme [00:49:30]:

Show him on Facebook and Facebook, okay.

Janice Person [00:49:33]:

He’s slowly getting it all together.

David Hemme [00:49:35]:

Yeah, I forget about Facebook.

Janice Person [00:49:38]:

I’ll go ahead and I’ll share some photos and some video we took as we walked through the place because you’re going to want to see this. It’s really kind of neat to get to go in and see how they make the cheese. Some of it that was being pressed today, that’ll be wrapped tomorrow to be aged for the next however long, probably. So hope you guys enjoyed this episode. David, thank you so much for having me out.

David Hemme [00:50:04]:

Glad you came out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.