Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 5, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 LETHBRIDGE HERALD Tuesday, March 5, 1974 By RIC SWIHART, Herald Staff Writer Alberta department of ag- riculture cheese specialist, Dennis Prince (above top left) supervises production at the Glenwood plant. Leonard Butler (right) stacks cheese during whey draining process. Below, Archie Leavitt rakes the curds. f f Cheese if you please production has started in a new plant here owned and operated by the United Irrigation District Cheese Factory Assn. Ltd. The plant, said to be the most modern of its type in the world, is only the second built and operating in Alberta. Employing five men in the production end, a managing director, a truck driver and a receptionist, the factory receives milk from 30 producers, about three quarters of them within a 20-mile radius of Glenwood. Byran Smith of Hillspring, president of the co- operative, said the plant is geared to making cheese from pounds or gallons of milk in one work shift. The plant produces cheddar cheese five days per week, closing Thursdays and Sundays. The only limiting factor to increased cheese production is the lack of milk producers, said Mr. Smith. With adequate milk stocks, the plant could operate three shifts per day, producing one bach of cheese each shift. Expansion easy And the building has been constructed so additional equipment can be installed that will easily double the production per shift. The day The Herald visited the plant, the delivered milk had just been treated with a special cheese starting solution containing the bacteria culture responsible for that special taste identified with Glenwood Cheese. The plant is designed to minimize hand labor. And although only 11 of the 30 producers delivering to the plant use the factory tanker truck, Mr. Smith feels the majority will be doing so within one year. Mr. Smith said plant officials feel they should be able to produce even better cheese with the new factory equipment because once the milk leaves the cow, it isn't exposed to the air until it is cheese. It is only the milk that is brought to the factory in cans which will be exposed. The new tanker truck, driven by Joe Trainer, starts the factory wheels moving about 6 a.m. each work day. It backs into a covered unloading stall and the milk is pumped into one of two 4.000 gallon holding tanks. From these tanks, the milk winds its way to the cheese maker through stainless steel pipes. And from the holding tank right through the entire operation, the factory looks like a gleaming hospital. From the holding tanks, the milk is passed through a separator or clarifyer to remove all the impurities. And because government regulations call for cheese to have 3.5 per cent butterfat, any extra cream is removed from the milk. This machine is capable of handling pounds of milk per hour. The milk then flows to a special heating machine. This unit can either treat the milk with heat to a set temperature or completely pasteurize it by heating it to a higher temperature. Heat treated In the old Glenwood Factory, all the milk was processed in the raw state. The majority of the cheese now being made in the new factory is heat treated, as in the old method of processing. When cheese is made from milk only treated with heat, it must be stored for 60 days before sale to ensure all bacterial action has stopped. When the plant pasturizes the milk first, cheese made from'the milk can be sold the day after manufacture. From the heating machine, the milk flows directly into the 4.000 gallon-capacity "double O" vat. This unit invented just more than one year ago. is the key to the new process. Mr. Smith said the unit separates the milk into solids i and liquids (wheyt after two to three hours. After settling, the whey is pumped out of the "double O" tank into a 42-foot long stainless steel cheddering tank. It is then pumped into holding tanks. Since not all of the cream is used in the cheese- making process, the whey is passed through the separator again to collect excess cream. It is shipped every two days to the Cardston Creamery for butter production. .Mr. Smith said the separator, costing was paid for in one year through cream sales. Before that, the cream had been Hushed down the drain for 32 vears.