Rockhill Creamery -- Jumping in With Both Feet
You know how sometimes you want to try something new, so you stick your toe in to test the water? That is NOT Parker Measom. Parker wanted to try something new, and he jumped in with both feet and is learning how to swim in his new role as owner and cheesemaker at Rockhill Creamery.
Five months ago, Parker heard from a friend that Rockhill Creamery in Richmond, Utah was up for sale. The friend knew that Parker had a love and appreciation for artisan craftsmanship and thought he might be interested. Measom grew up traveling through Europe with his family. He remembers his father buying artisan cheese and bread for the family as they traveled and credits that as the beginning of his love for artisan styled products.
Parker was raised in Cache Valley and graduated from Utah State University in plant science. He worked as an arborist after he graduated, but at 26, he decided to leap into the world of small business ownership and artisan cheese making.
Rockhill Creamery is located on a historic farmstead in Utah’s beautiful Cache Valley. Formerly known as the James & Amy Burnham Farmstead, the farm was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005 and received the Utah Heritage Foundation “Best Adaptive Use” award and the National Trust for Historic Preservation “Honor Award.”
Willis Erickson purchased the property in the late 1920s and built a thriving egg business. In 1986, Pete Schropp purchased the farmstead and Jennifer Hines joined him shortly thereafter, and the two built their farmstead cheese business. They repurposed the egg-cooling building into a cheese parlor and constructed a new underground cheese-aging facility complete with a viewing window.
Pete and Jennifer still own the farmstead, but Measom has purchased Rockhill Creamery, where cheeses are handmade in small batches with a natural rind and raw milk, and then aged.
Parker enrolled in Utah State’s Basic Cheese Making Short Course where he was introduced to milk and the science of cheesemaking. With that, and some mentoring from Rockhill’s previous cheesemaker, Parker jumped into his new role.
The Cheese Making Process
Measom has learned that every step of cheese making requires attention and intense dedication.
Rockhill cheese is made using raw milk which is sourced from nearby Cache Meadow Creamery. Bacteria turns milk sugars into lactic acid. The bacteria culture used determines the type of cheese that is being made. Rennet is added, which curdles the cheese and makes it solid. Next, the cheesemaker cuts the curd and heats it, which separates the curds and the whey. The curds are pressed by weights in cheese wheel forms and the whey is drained as the cheese wheel is repeatedly flipped. The cheese is then put into a brine bath, an old European technique, which is key to the formation of the natural rind found on all Rockhill Creamery cheeses.
Parker says, “PH, moisture, and aging are all key to good artisan cheese.” Cheeses are aged anywhere from 60 days to several years.
Rockhill Creamery offers eight signature cheeses:
- Wasatch Mountain (Swiss/Alpine)—Most popular
- Farmhouse Gouda
- Zwitser Gouda
- Peppercorn Gouda
- Dark Canyon Edam
- Snow Canyon Edam
- Mt. Gog—Montasio (Italian Style)
- Escalante Hispanico (Spanish Style)
Variations of cheeses are achieved through aging. When Wasatch Mountain is aged over 12 months, it has a different taste and is sold as Wasatch Reserve.
Measom is experimenting with new flavors but will have to wait for several months or even years to taste the results. “I’ve always believed patience was a virtue of mine,” Parker quips, “but cheese making is testing my patience.”
Small Business Focus
Parker is a first-time small business owner who has always liked to pursue new things that promote personal growth. He’s being stretched as he fulfills all the demands of running a small business, product development, sales, marketing, bookkeeping, and more. He does it all. True to his “all in” philosophy, he is living in the attic above the milk parlor, so he’s onsite when the cheese process needs attention.
The thing Measom loves about Rockhill Creamery being a small business is that it allows consumers to see the people behind their food—where it comes from and how it’s made.
Rockhill Creamery is hand-making 8-16 wheels of cheese per week and sells to high-end restaurants such as Stein Eriksen Lodge and Courchevel Bistro in Park City as well as Crumb Brothers in Logan and Harmons grocery stores.
Measom’s dream is to grow his business to one day include a retail store and wider retail distribution.
It isn’t an easy time to be a small business owner. It requires a commitment to finding ways to do business in very unusual circumstances so consumers can still get the food, supplies, and services they need and want.
No one succeeds alone. Parker is grateful for the help and resources that are available to him from the community, Utah State University, the dairy industry, Utah Farm Bureau, and his father who is a successful business owner.
Hats off to the courageous and optimistic men and women who have the determination it takes to own a small business. Small businesses are worth celebrating, so let’s jump in with both feet to support them!
Learn more about Rockhill Creamery at rockhillcheese.com.
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