|Kent’s drawing of new cheese shop|
Kent Walker showing off his Bluff Top Feta, aging in its tasty salt water brine.
What I'm interested in is the tasting room. In the tasting room, according to Kent, his cheeses will all be available in whatever quantity your heart desires, alongside a few very rare imports (including a 50lb wheel of 10-year aged parmesan) plus wines (his parents are wine brokers, so you know the wine will be good), charcuterie, and beer, either by the bottle or on tap. From this little foodie haven of a room, customers will be able to observe the cheese making process through windows that overlook his production and aging spaces. All in the renovated basement of the historic Main St building off 6th. It's going to be a cool place.
Ultimately, Kent and I both are both jazzed about the cheese. At the moment, Kent is hitting his rented kitchen's roof, and he hasn't got the capital or space to age his cheese past 3 months. This side of the cheese business I haven't considered much, but it's worth appreciating that, for cheese makers (as well as brewers, wine makers, and distillers), a return on their product can take years. It hurts the brain a little to consider the schedule: Kent has to think 3 months in advance when he makes his cheese, or in reverse, he has to deal with whatever decisions he made three months earlier.
Milk becoming cheese: with the addition of heat and rennet, an enzyme,
the solids and liquids begin to separate, allowing cheese to take form.
Kent’s cheese press, where liquid is removed from the cheese wheels
with the pressure of time and weight.
|cheese making vat|
- Sam Hedges
Director of Operations, Arkansas Local Food Network
*because Kent makes cheese, and "vegan" is the opposite of cheese, and Little Rock only has one artisan cheese maker, so he's the only one in the pond. Get it?