BY RAY VAN COR
The Greenville Standard
Cheesy jokes aside, making fresh homemade cheese always seemed too good to be true for a lot of homemade hobbyist.
During the reign of the Roman Empire, cheese was a very common food staple for the Roman legions.
Now meet Butler County’s own cheese maker, Debra Martin is a 61-year-old cattle farmer and cheese maker from McKenzie who has an affinity for her cattle and everything about them.
Her passion is so great she started making dairy products of her own about four years ago, cheese being her favorite. She makes buttermilk, butter, cheese and sour cream. She sells out of her homemade dairy products before she actually makes them.
Martin is quick to say, “We grow our own corn that we feed to our cows and we do not use herbicides or pesticides. It makes the milk so much sweeter.”
She referred to her cheese that she makes as a soft cheese that only last for about seven days refrigerated. She adds, “I would like to try making other types of cheeses and have made mozzarella cheese before but I don’t have the equipment needed to make other cheeses like cheddar and the humidity here in Alabama is terrible for making cheese.”
She stills churns butter the old fashion way along with her buttermilk. She went on to say all of her recipes and some of the necessary ingredients, like the cheese starter rennin, which is an enzyme used to make the milk curdle, are obtained from Missouri.
Martin would like to attend one of the prestigious cheese making schools in Canada some day and learn to make all manner of cheeses.
We are the fortunate ones this year because Martin will be at the Old Time Farm Day on Oct. 31 with her dairy products on full display and for tasting as well. We will see you there.