The Kraft Cheese Company
Water Valley, Mississippi
Yes, I know that I wrote about “The Cheese Plant” last week but there were several things left unanswered in that writing.
Have you ever looked up “cheese” on the Internet or in an encyclopedia? What an interesting and lengthy subject. As I grew up I remember mother making cottage cheese at home—now it is a standard item on the grocery shelf.
Nannette tells me that her mother made both the soft cottage and the semi-hard, adding color to the second to give it the what we might call the normal cheese color. There are four classes listed, soft, semi-soft, hard and very hard.
In my old fashioned encyclopedia I find—In 1917, J. L. Kraft, an American businessman, Chicago, patented a method for making process cheese—that has to be Mr. John whom I’ve mentioned meeting several times at Grenada Farms. He brought several people into our town in connection with the cheese plant. Mr. Frank Tucker, mentioned last week, Mr. W. C. Quinn and I know that there are others that I’m missing. Sandra Quinn helped me immeasurably with some questions.
Why was the traffic direction at the milk intake point at the cheese plant south-bound into the north-bound traffic side of Central Street? There was room for that intake point to be reversed. The milk trucks, loading their empty cans, had to be parked, headed the wrong way, during the operation. Did the city not have a planning committee for overseeing things like this?
The Waste Product?
Many of you may not know what “whey” is. The easiest way to tell you is say that it is the principle waste product of cheese making. However, it is not a waste. There was, to me as a child, an enormous tank into which the whey was pumped. My father fed hogs—it was one of the several operations that I have mentioned that he ran on the farm.
I can see him walking across the barnyard with a bushel basket of corn on his shoulder, headed for the pigpen. Inside that pen there was a trough with a barrel just outside —a 55 gallon drum with the head cut out and an old tub [No 3] upside down over the top—to hold whey. This was repeated at each of several pens. Three barrels of whey were picked up, twice a week, at that big tank just north of the plant.
For many years it was considered getting rid of a waste product and cost nothing—later there was a minimal—like a quarter a barrel—(as I remember) charge. It is rated as an excellent feed for hogs fed on corn (helps balance the protein content of the feed).
On the average about 10 pounds of cheese can be made from 100 pounds of milk. Milk weighs 8.6 pounds per gallon so that 100 pounds of milk equals a l.l gallon can of milk. Most of the milk sugars (lactose) are in the whey. You can do the math on that—you get a lot of whey in making cheese.
Other Waste Uses
In the 70s research discovered methods for removing a number of valuable substances from the “waste product” whey. Although, previously some of it had been fed to farm animals, most of it was thrown (probably went directly into Town Creek) away.
Today manufacturers add these nutritious substances to many foods. Whey can also be made into alcohol. Liquor companies have used whey in making whiskey and a sweet wine (our Guernsey bull, PowWow, found about that alcohol years ago).
I wish to thank the many of you who have made encouraging remarks. I think that we all might need to follow the advice an old fellow of long ago. The drought was pretty severe and he was called on to pray. He asked to Lord to let the wind blow from the south for three days.
You can reach me most of the time at 23541 Highway 6, Batesville, MS 38606, 662-563-9879 or firstname.lastname@example.org.