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Manwaring Cheese: one of the last cheese factories in east Idaho

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RIGBY — During the 1970’s Jefferson County was one of the largest milk-producing counties in Idaho. Back then cheese factories were common. But today Manwaring Cheese is one of the only producers left in east Idaho.

Blake Manwaring’s father originally began Manwaring cheese in 1955. It ran until the late 80’s. Blake picked it back up again about five years ago.

“I thought well maybe I could start a cheese factory, because I really enjoy making cheese,” Manwaring said.

Each week Manwaring picks up 3,000 pounds of milk from Daloris Dairy. Manwaring has his own pasteurizing process which kills all the bacteria in the milk.

“What that does is warms the milk up to 161 degrees, and holds it for 20 seconds.”

A freeze dried culture imported from France is added back to the Jersey Milk, along with a substance that causes the milk to thicken similar to a yogurt texture.

“Then I take these knives right here and pull through that matter, and it cuts it into a little curd about the size of the end of your little finger,” Manwaring said.

After the cheese curds go through a vigorous process, they are salted and formed into cheese blocks.

“When that salt has soaked in then I put it into these cheese hoops and I lay ‘em down , and them press ‘em together,” Manwaring said.

Mild cheddar cheese is aged for at least 6 months. Their signature Stalver Long Horn Cheese is aged for 18. He even has a block from 4 years ago when he was starting up Manwaring Cheese.

“This is one of the first pieces of cheese I made, so I hang on to it. It was made in 2011. The older cheese gets it weeps. It pulls salt to the surface and deposits it.”

About 90 percent of the cheese Manwaring makes is sold at his retail store at 3 N 3800 E, Rigby near County Line Road.

“Oh it’s great, and I’ve had curd cheese all over — Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Utah,” customer Fred Schroeder said, “I’ve found Manwaring is the best.”

Manwaring is hoping to expand, and might even hold a gourmet grilled cheese spot.

For information about Manwaring Cheesevisit its website.

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