Los Fresnos News

Los Fresnos Chamber Learns About South Texas Cheese Factory


image-(2)Bayview Factory Owner Explains Operation to Board Members

The Los Fresnos Area Chamber of Commerce held their regular meeting October 28 with lunch catered by Julia’s Restaurant.

New members welcomed to the meeting included: Ms. Delia Ruiz of Tips & Clips Beauty Salon, John Bates of To Every Tribe Ministries, Amparo Escalante of Harvey’s LP Gas Company, Realtor Melba Meyn, Realtor Angelo J. Katsovos, Gabnela Valenzuela of Naturellas’s Juice Bar & Deli and Ivez Perez of Carniceria Perez.

Speaker for the meeting was Adam Thompson of the South Texas Cheese Factory in Bayview. He told how cheeses are made, why a high level of quality control is important, why attention is paid to what the herd eats and plans for the future. The factory sells a variety of cheeses including gouda, gruyere, cheddar, Colby, romano, parmesan, and feta. Cheeses are aged a minimum of 60 days up to two years. Thompson sells cheeses at farmers markets across the valley in Brownsville, Laguna Vista, Port Isabel, South Padre Island, McAllen and Pharr. He is the founder, owner, and chief cheese maker and graciously presented a cheese board at the meeting.

Thompson told the members that they always strive to have the healthiest, happiest goats and the cleanest, highest standards in our cheese plant to ensure a great quality product for our consumers to enjoy. We do this in part by monitoring animal health constantly, rotating our herd, keeping the rounds

clean and tidy, as well as keeping strict policies on cleanliness in the cheese making and aging rooms.

The majority of our herd, approximately 75 does (females) and a few bucks (males), consists of registered French and American A1pines.
Alpine is a breed of domestic goat known for its very good milking ability. They are of medium size and have no set markings. They have horns, a dish-face and erect ears. The breed originated in the French Alps. Mature does weigh around 125 lbs, and are about 30 inches tall at the shoulder. Alpine goats can range from white or gray to brown and black.

These are hardy, adaptable animals that thrive in any climate while maintaining good health and excellent production. The face is straight with a straight nose as most other European breeds of goats.

The Alpine goat is known for its milk, and is famous for its rich dairy production. According to the British Medical Journal, Alpine milk contains the lowest fat content of all milks (3.1 g/ 250m1), including that of Human’s and cows. It is higher in sugars than cows’ milk but balances itself in terms of the amount of protein. Alpine Goats’ milk has 2.3g of protein per 250ml while Cow’s milk has 3.4. A higher protein count is not always good, since it packs more calories with an increased fat content. The sexual maturation rate among Alpine goats is at four to five months after birth. When a goat reaches this age they are meant to mate, weighing 65-75 pounds. At this point the goat is eight — ten months old. A goat pregnancy lasts for 145 —150 days, in which she produces on average two baby goats.

Adam Thompson of South Texas Cheese Factory

Adam Thompson of South Texas Cheese Factory

Alpine goats are one of the top milk producers, alongside Saanen and Toggenburg goats. They are distinct from the other two due to their low value of fat content. This could be a direct correlation between the weight of the animal and its habitual environment. Unlike the Nubian goat, whose weight is similar to that of the Alpines (at maturity), yet produces a lower milk value with an increased fat content.

Why raw milk? Raw milk contains much more flavor, protein, calcium, vitamins, and pro-biotics than pasteurized milk.

When milk is heat-treated or in some cases super heat treated, much of the beneficial nutritional properties are lost, as well as a radical change in flavor and consistency. While pasteurization can kill the bad bacteria it also kills the good bacteria which is an important part of cheese making as well as being beneficial for the consumer. All of our cheeses are aged at least two months, as required by Texas Department of State Health Services, which allows adequate time for the good bacteria that is in the cheese to kill off any possible bad bacteria. We believe that natural, unaltered milk will produce a superior flavor in our cheese as opposed to heat treated milk, as well as provide all of the natural components that are part of the beauty of cheese.

Mr. Thompson’s future plans are to sell cheeses at the retail level.

The next general meeting is November 18 and members were advised that the Elvis Music Festival will be held January 10, 2015.