Holmes County, OH Part III: Cheese and More
Berlin, OH - Events of Saturday, August 25 ro Monday, August 27, 2012
Our friends, Barbara and Dick, pulled into Scenic Hills about 2:30 on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, the 50-amp sites on our end of the lower level of the campground were all booked up with people coming in early for the upcoming Labor Day weekend. Therefore, the only site Barbara and Dick could get on the lower level was at the far end. It is a very nice site on the end of the row with lots of room, but it was pretty far away.
Shortly after they arrived, we stopped by their site to greet them. We needed to run an errand, so we made arrangements to meet up with them a little later for dinner, and we headed out on our errand and left them to set up.
We picked them up about 4:30 and headed to Der Dutchman in Walnut Creek for dinner. Dick had a two-piece broasted chicken dinner with the salad bar as one of his sides, and the rest of us just had the salad bar.
Afterward, we stopped in the bakery adjacent to the restaurant just to see if anything looked good. Since it was Saturday evening and the restaurant and bakery aren't open on Sunday, all the baked goods in the display care were half price - much to our delight. We got two cream-filled doughnuts for the price of one for breakfast the following morning, and Barbara and Dick got doughnuts plus a large cinnamon roll. We also bought a small, no-sugar-added blueberry pie that we enjoyed with some Breyer's Carb Smart vanilla ice cream while we sat and chatted with Barbara and Dick outside our rig when we got back to the campground.
On Sunday, our friends went to the NFL Hall of Fame over in Canton while we relaxed around the motor home. Margery cooked up some delicious Chicken Caesar Florentine, and we all got together for dinner later at our rig. We had a great time catching on what we had all been doing for the summer and planning our activities for the next few days.
Shortly after lunch on Monday, the four of us headed up the road to Heini's Cheese Chalet. Heini's is one of several places in the area that makes cheese, but it is the only one we know of that has large viewing windows where you can watch the cheese being made.
Heini's is also the only place we know of where you can sample almost every one of the different cheeses they have to offer. Their sales room is set up in a "U" shape with display coolers filled with cheese all around the room. The crowds can be very heavy on Saturdays, and it can take the better part of an hour to shuffle your way around the room waiting to get to the next sample. Fortunately when we were there on Monday, you could get to just about any sample you wanted with no wait.
We got there just in time to watch them finishing up a batch of cheese. Milk had previously been added to a large vat along with other ingredients like cheese cultures, enzymes and an acidifying agent. Things like time, temperature, type of starter cultures and the type of enzyme all go into determining the kind of cheese being produced.
After the milk has been mixed, coagulated, salted, mixed again and cooked, the liquid (whey) is drained off. The solids (curds) are pushed down to one end of the vat where they are removed by a conveyor. Workers distribute the curds into stainless steel molds.
The molds have two sections, one of which collapses down inside the other. Workers place lids on the molds and place them into the presses shown behind the molds in the photo below. The cheese remains under pressure for at least 12 hours.
After we watched the cheese making process a while and we had some samples, Barbara and Dick bought a couple of chunks of cheese. Then we headed about 15 minutes north to Lehman's Hardware. Lehman's sells lots of interesting items like LP gas refrigerators, hand-cranked grain mills, oil lamps, canning supplies and other things that are of interest to the local Amish population. We always like to see all the unusual items, and we usually recommend a stop at Lehman's for anyone who has never been there.
Lehman's has an extensive stock of wood stoves for cooking and for heating. There are lots of antiques on display alongside the new merchandise like the older wood, coal and kerosene heaters in the photo below.
Dick ended up talking to one of the salesmen in the stove room for a while where he learned a lot about the Amish lifestyle. Barbara bought a couple of toys for the grandkids. Paul was particularly intrigued by one display of old gadgets and parts called "what is it." He studied quite a few of the items, but was able to identify only a couple.
It was getting late when we finished up looking around Lehman's, so we headed back to Scenic Hills where Barbara whipped up a delicious dinner of salmon, cheesy broccoli and salad. We had more sightseeing scheduled for the next day, so stay tuned.