Of the dozens of locally made artisanal foods introduced to Hawaii in the past 20 years–breads, smoked seafood, chocolates, microbrewery beers–none have been cow’s milk cheese.
But if Naked Cow Dairy, the Islands’ only cow’s milk producer (15 head on a ranch out in Waianae), succeeds in an online-based fundraising effort via [indiegogo.com], that will change. Sister-owners Monique van der Stroom and Sabrina St. Martin have been making cheese in a small way.
But they believe “Hawaii needs cheese,” and for that they have to install a pricey heating element in their 230-gallon cheese vat and build and outfit a cheese aging room. The tab? Fifteen thousand dollars.
They’re a third of the way to the goal, with a deadline of March 17 on the venture capital site [indiegogo.com]. But the sisters thought fundraising might go better with cheese.
So last Saturday, they hosted a very short-lived popup cheese shop and sampling party at a storefront on ‘Auahi Street in Kakaako where many local chefs, well, popped up. Also, there was Pickles the Cow, who may or may not have done the voice-over on their website ([nakedcowdairy.com]); she ruminated on the future of cheese while parked in a stall on the street.
Inside, chef George Mavrothalassitis was commending the brie-like Big Cream, Little Rind cheese despite its youth (less than 30 days, Sabrina said; it can age for months). Ed Kenney of Town was joshing the staff: “If it’s so easy, how come we can’t get it?,” he said, purposely loud enough to be heard.
The major challenge–besides keeping the cows fed–is buying the equipment, Sabrina said.