Our Maine Street's Aroostook Issue 5 : Summer 2010 - Page 18

directly from outside during the summer months, as it would disrupt the carefully controlled temperature of the aging room. Robert had the idea of utilizing an old well on the property as a source of cold air and rigged up a solarpowered electric fan to move the air through the aging room. Sonnental Dairy is entirely off the grid, and quite possibly has the smallest carbon footprint of any cheesemaking facility anywhere. Robert makes his cheeses three days a week. The other three days are spent repackaging the cheeses in smaller sizes for retail, doing paperwork, taking orders and shipping. Cheese production is not a year-round endeavor because the milking is seasonal, letting him pursue other activities from the end of February until early May, when the cows “freshen”. On production days, milk is delivered in the “milk wagon” from his father’s farm just down the road. Between 150 and 500 gallons of fresh, raw milk are poured into a 24” deep stainless steel vat. The vat is jacketed with water heated by a wood-fired boiler outside the dairy. Warm water circulates through the copper pipes Robert installed with the