By: Halle On: May 10, 2018
Jonathan (Jonny) Steiger and Tyson Fehrman are the owners and operators of By George Farm. Their farmstead creamery is located on the banks of Yale Creek and Little Applegate River in Southern Oregon and includes 21 grass-fed Jersey cows. We reached out to By George Farm to learn more about their farm and business. Check out our interview with Jonny of By George Farm below for a glimpse into dairy farming and cheesemaking.
MFC: How did By George Farm get started?
BY GEORGE: In 2009 Tyson and I interned at the Siskiyou Crest Goat Dairy through the Rogue Farm Corps. After completing the internship we returned to land outside of Madison, Wisconsin and started By George Farm – primarily growing produce for fine dining restaurants. After two years in Wisconsin we had the opportunity to return to Southern Oregon to farm. Back then, we were hand milking 3 cows and running a raw milk herd share while working on cheese recipes.
MFC: What inspires you to be farmers (and cheesmakers)?
BY GEORGE: Our inspiration for farming came from wanting to provide quality food to our community. Our inspiration for cheesemaking sprouted from our understanding that value-added products were the way to go. I (Jonny) grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin and witnessed both easy and hard times as the milk price rose and fell.
MFC: By George Farm raises grass-fed Jersey cows. How does the breed of cow and the type of food they eat influence the flavors of the cheeses?
BY GEORGE: We chose the Jersey cow breed for their superior quality of milk specifically for the types of cheese we wanted to make. Jerseys are also one of the best converters of grass into milk. Their milk output may not be a high as many other breeds but we strive for quality not quantity, and we hope you can taste the pastures in our cheese.
Jonny Steiger with one of By George Farm’s 21 Jersey cows.
MFC: What is the most difficult part of the cheesemaking process?
BY GEORGE: Patience is the most difficult part of cheesemaking. Our Buncom in Bloom takes 10-12 hours to make and is then flipped and patted daily for 7-12 days. Our raw aged cheeses take regular maintenance and can sit in the aging room for over a year while we wait for the flavor to develop.
MFC: What are your most popular products?
Smoked Garlic Cheese Curds.
MFC: Tell us something most people don’t know about By George Farm.
BY GEORGE: Something most people don’t know is that the farm was named after Tyson’s grandfather George. The year we started farming George passed away, and Tyson used the money his grandfather left him to buy seeds. We thought it was fitting to name the operation after him.
On By George Farm, the calves and cows are raised with every care for the animal’s well-being, and the cheese is handmade with care for the art of cheesemaking. Support your local farmers: pick up By George Farm’s delicious local cheeses here at the co-op or find them at the weekly Growers Markets.