On-Farm, Episode 013: Kevin Dietzel – Lost Lake Farm
This week, On-Farm traveled to Lost Lake Farm, the farm of Kevin and Ranae Dietzel, to talk to Kevin while he made mozzarella cheese and cheese curds. Lost Lake Farm is a small, grass-fed cow dairy that produces artisanal cheese in an on-farm cheesery. The Dietzels operate the farm with low capital and a small herd. They focus on what they’re good at: grazing cattle and turning milk into a high-value product. Their cows are a mix of breeds, but are bred to Normande, a French breed known to produce milk for great cheese. The farm includes 80 acres of pasture and hay. Cattle are rotated through the pastures twice daily. On today’s show, we talk with Kevin about how they got started, the challenges of working long hours to make artisan cheese, how mozzarella is made, on-farm research, biodynamics, markets, and how the process of delicious cheese starts with healthy soil.
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On August 14th, the Dietzels will lead a tour of their cheesery and milking facilities, which were constructed in 2016. Kevin and Ranae will discuss the challenges of starting a new business – from desiging and building facilities, to navigating regulations, to developing marketing and growth strategies, to managing scarce time and resources. During a pasture walk, Kevin will discuss his cattle genetics and breeding philosophy. We’ll also learn about stocking density, pasture residue and rest periods, see the Dietzels’ water and fence set-up, and talk about nutritional management for a grass-fed system. Kevin and Ranae will also discuss how biodynamic production practices influence the flavor of their cheeses.
You can watch this short video for a sneak peak of the field day or check out this news release.