From corporate to artisan: Brothers-in-law Pat Ford and Tim Welsh are passionate about their handmade cheese
When you take a bite of Beehive Cheese, it melts like butter in your mouth. That’s because Beehive Cheese is made from the creamiest milk in Utah and lovingly crafted into superior cheese by a family who shares a passion for the artisan way of life.
In 2005, brothers-in-law Tim Welsh and Pat Ford left the fast-paced world of software and real estate seeking a simple way of life as cheese makers. They traded their grinding commute and laptops for quiet pre-dawn mornings sitting with 500 gallons of farm-fresh milk carefully mixing and warming it for hours to develop their unique cheese. Delighting in the sweet smell of warm milk, they fell in love with the natural rhythms of making cheese the old fashioned way. The long days of polishing their recipe and the months spent waiting with an artisan’s patience for wheels to ripen to perfection have made our cheeses some of the best in America. The Beehive Cheese family is delighted to share our passion with you.
Tim and Pat had a dream to bring back the local creamery to northern Utah, and they did just that. With help from the Western Dairy Center at Utah State University, they opened their doors in 2005. Beehive Cheese is proud to be among a handful of artisan cheese makers in Utah. The Beehive Cheese Company creamery sits at the mouth of Weber Canyon in a valley between the forested Wasatch Mountains in Northern Utah.
These mountains are home to world-class powder skiing in the winter and meadows of heavenly wildflowers in the summer. We consider our creamery a modern cheese operation where old-world craftsmanship is embraced.
The creamery is within walking distance from both Pat and Tim’s homes. Talk about a short commute! As a family-owned and operated business, their children make the trek to help their dads make cheese. This involves hopping over a fence and safely crossing a set of train tracks. The cousins work happily side-by-side learning about hard work and even microbiology while stirring milk, flipping cheese slabs, packaging curds, and rubbing cheese wheels.
Vegetarian-friendly rennet is use in all Beehive Cheese recipes.
Beehive Cheese company sources milk from Wade’s Dairy. This 4th generation family dairy is owned and operated by Clint and Tara Wade. The dairy is ten miles northwest of Beehive Cheese nestled between the Weber River and the mineral-loaded marshy fields of the Great Salt Lake.
Wade’s Dairy produces high quality milk used solely for the purpose of cheesemaking. Resting on the principles of creating a caring, stress-free environment for their herd, they use modern dairying techniques to ensure their animals are healthy and thriving.
The staff at Wade’s Dairy cares for a mixed herd of Jersey and Holstein cows on approximately 550 acres of land. The herd is fed what is grown on the property. Their diet consists of primarily alfalfa hay and corn silage grown and produced on site. A small amount of supplemental feed is sourced locally from nearby farmers. Bedding for each cow is created from materials from the dairy and cleaned daily.
Sustainable practices are important to Wade’s Dairy. They are currently working with Utah State University on a project to maintain and operate their methane digester. A methane digester harnesses the energy of cow waste and converts it into reusable energy for the farm.
A common question about milk concerns growth hormones and antibiotics. No cow is ever administered artificial growth hormones, most commonly referred to as rBGH or rBST. In the event that a cow becomes ill, the cow is separated from the heard and treated. The cow is then held until she’s well and then reintroduced into the herd once her milk tests clear for antibiotics.
Each delivery of milk is tested prior to cheesemaking. Beehive Cheese looks for the following markers of quality: somatic cell count, pH, presence of antibiotics, butterfat and protein levels. Milk will be denied if there are any signs of impurity. There can be no presence of antibiotics in the milk and somatic cell counts must meet our high standards. Somatic cell counts are an indicator of herd health and milk quality. Wade’s Dairy produces milk with somatic cell counts seven-times lower than what is required. Measurements this low is evidence that the cows are healthy and free of stress.
Beehive Cheese does not standardize our milk. This means that as the milk changes with the season, we adjust our cheese recipe to match the fat and protein levels present in the milk.
The care provided by Clint Wade and his dairy team yields quality milk and thriving cows. Because of Wade’s superior quality and dedication, Beehive Cheese continues to produce award-winning cheese by starting with fantastic milk.