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Upcoming workshops geared toward aspiring business owners, cheese lovers

PLATTSBURGH - Can you say "cheese?"

The Northern New York Regional Foods Initiative of Cornell Cooperative Extension will host workshops on how to start an artisan cheese business and making your own cheese Monday, Nov. 29, and Tuesday, Nov. 30, at Clinton Community College.

The workshops will give aspiring local cheesemakers - and those simply interested in the art of making cheese - the opportunity to work with Vermont Master Cheesemaker Peter Dixon, who has been making cheese since 1983.

"These classes are excellent for anyone interested in making handmade artisan cheeses using the traditional methods I have studied in Europe, North America and the Balkans," said Dixon. "Artisan cheeses are now an integral part of the localvore movement and present solid and lucrative business opportunities for entrepreneurs."

Dixon, a private dairy foods consultant since 1996, has helped people make cheese across the United States and in places like Macedonia, Albania and Armenia as part of community and agricultural development projects. He has started several cheese companies in Vermont, including Guilford Cheese Company in Guilford and Westminster Dairy in Westminster West. He has been an artisanal cheesemaker for Shelburne Farms, the Vermont Butter and Cheese Company, and most recently for the Consider Bardwell Farm in West Pawlet, making cheese from Jersey Girls Farm milk.

In addition to being a master cheese-maker, Dixon has designed cheese caves, developed signature cheeses, and assisted new business start-ups and existing cheese company expansions. Dixon's classes attract commercial and homesteading farmers, chefs, winemakers and brewers, cheese mongers and makers, and food writers.

"Interested in Starting an Artisan Cheese Business?" - the two-day workshop for cheese entrepreneurs - will cost $100 to attend, which includes course materials, lunch and beginner cheesemaking instruction. Those workshops will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.

"Interested in Learning How to Make Cheese?" - the one-day workshop for cheesemaking beginners - will be offered from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 29. The cost to attend is $35 and includes course materials and refreshments.

For more information or to register, call 483-7403, ext. 312.

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