About Utah: A cheesy way to save the farm

Published: Sunday, Dec. 1 2013 10:00 p.m. MST

They then spread the word that not only were they open but that the public was welcome to take tours of the clean room, the cheese cave, the whole farm if they wanted. They instituted cheese-tasting events on the second Friday of every month. They started hosting, along with Domino’s Pizza (one of the nation’s largest buyers of cheese) a “Day on the Farm.” Last year more than 1,500 people showed up.

“We want people to know milk doesn’t come from the store,” says Grant. “We pride ourselves on the cow-to-consumer philosophy.”

Their fan and customer base has grown exponentially. The creamery (hebervalleycheese.com) attracts people from all over. Many out-of-town visitors who have second homes in the area — some of them on ex-dairy farms — have put it on their “must shop” list. The Kohlers’ raw milk has a cult following; they sell an average of 40 gallons every day.

Their secret? That would be pampered cows. The Kohlers' cows are treated like teenage movie stars. They get pedicures and manicures. Nutritionists come on a regular basis to check them out and regulate their diet. They don’t eat corn feed because of studies that show how much junk is in corn. They eat flax seed. “They eat better than we do,” says Grant’s wife, Caralee.

Happy cows, the Kohlers believe, produce great milk, which translates into, among other things, terrific cheese that cheese-lovers want to buy.

“I think the future of small farms is niche marketing,” says Grant. “So we kind of threw all our eggs in one basket. It’s either do or die.”

So far, it’s do.

Lee Benson's About Utah column runs Mondays. Email: benson@deseretnews.com

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