Boss Mouse Cheese
Boss Mouse Cheese, Kingsley, Michigan
Cheese, says Sue Kurta of Boss Mouse Cheese in Kingsley, “...is like wine; it’s full of terroir: a set of special characteristics that the geography and climate of a certain place play in agricultural food products. I produce my cheese one wheel at a time, completely by hand, and it tastes of the fertile soil and water of our rich, healthy land in this part of Michigan.”
Kurta, who ditched a corporate finance career in New York to return home to Michigan to start her business, makes about 100 pounds of cheese a week. She trained at workshops in Vermont and a long internship with experienced cheesemakers on a goat farm in Maine.
Except for the invaluable help she gets from her parents, Mike and Margaret, she is a one-woman operation, producing the cheese and selling at area farmers markets in addition to Oryana and other venues. She makes an Alpine style Montasio, Sweet Swiss, cloth-bound and aged Cheddar, plain and smoked Mozzarella, and a unique smoked butter, all from Moomers milk. She has an 8 x 12 foot aging cave, which has carefully controlled temperature and humidity.
One thing she particularly enjoys about her business is that cheese is a “happy” product that people love. She enjoys talking to customers and sharing her knowledge of cheese. Challenging aspects of her operation are the conditions outside her control that influence cheese, such as humidity. It’s also hard, physical, wet work, with plenty of dishes and equipment to wash. But this year she plans to hire help, expand her Internet sales, and sell at more farmers markets.
The Boss Mouse logo is hard to miss. Kurta explains: “The photo is of my Aunt, taken around 1920. She has a huge pink bow in her hair, which resembles mouse ears. We dress her up in costumes for different cheese labels. I am such a small operation, so the “boss” part is tough, like a strong little thing. Mice and cheese are an obvious pairing, plus it’s fun to say.”
Visit Kurta’s website for more information: www.bossmousecheese.com.