Monday I had flashbacks to every moving day I have gone through in my adult life. Forklift-full by forklift-full our garage was emptied of all the cheese making equipment that had filled it from wall to wall and floor to ceiling for the last 4 months (the garage being the most accessible and securable location available). I spent the better part of the day in the creamery directing equipment unpacking and placement, answering “Yes, I do need this many cheese molds,” scouring discarded cardboard for missing bits of stainless steel, and racking my brains trying to recall where we intended this or that shelf to go. Of course it is during this process that forgotten items become apparent, so there was also lots of darting back to my computer and my ever faithful Nelson Jameson catalog to add to the growing list of “Still to Buy.”
Though we are still a week or more away from being ready to start cheese making, we held our first open house Monday evening, hosting the monthly Anderson Valley Wine Growers Social. Attendees who stayed until evening milking was complete (we allow the goats to “work” undisturbed by visitors) were treated to a tour of the dairy and creamery. It was a good trial run for the agro-tourism tours we hope will help support the costs of running a dairy and draw visitors to the valley.
The rest of this week has lacked the frenzy of Monday’s unpacking, but just barely. I’ve been on the phone at least once every day with our Nelson Jameson sales rep in regards to sanitary hose orders, and the catalog spine has been permanently bent to the tri-clamp and gasket page. Our last goat of the season kidded Tuesday evening. The weekend witnessed the end (cross my fingers and knock on wood) of weeks of revising and proofing our label designs. Wednesday I completed the last of the label approval applications, printed pdf proofs of each label in triplicate, and mailed them to CDFA. I got a call at 3pm this afternoon confirming their receipt and that we should hear back by the end of next week regarding approval. Packaging materials for our fresh cheese shipped out on Tuesday, and bacterial cultures and rennet arrived Wednesday.
There are still lots of little tasks to complete. Mounting the paper towel dispensers and getting the ones for soap, installing the water filters for the humidifiers for the aging rooms, a broken switch on the air curtain on the milk receiving room doors, getting locking wheels for the shelves in the main cheese making room, hanging fire extinguishers, mounting the foot sprayers… The list seems unending, and then of course everything needs to be cleaned. Still, the end is in sight. Pennyroyal cheese is moving in!