Ocheesee Creamery opens in Calhoun County

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The Wesselhoeft family has been milking cows for years.

"Twenty years go my husband and I moved here with our four children," Mary Lou Wesselhoeft said.

Their family-owned dairy farm started out small, but has grown. Each day, family members milk 120 Jersey cows, producing anywhere from 400 to 500 gallons of fresh milk.

Up until now, the majority of that milk went to a dairy cooperative.

"We felt like to be able to stay in business, we needed to be able to market out own product," Wesselhoeft said.

It's taken two-and a half years, but the result is the Ocheesee Creamery.

The Wesselhoeft's held a grand opening for the creamery Wednesday morning. With this facility, the family can produce pasteurized non-homogenized milk, cheese, cream, and butter from start to finish.

Here's how it works. The cows provide the jump start of course. The milk then goes to this vat. From there it's pumped through the walls into this raw milk tank.

The milk then flows through another series of pipes, where it's heated to 145 degrees to kill the bacteria. Then it's sent to a chiller where it's cooled to 45 degrees.

"The jars come around here and the fillers then fill it with milk, Wesselhoeft said.

The entire process takes about 10 hours to complete.

If you're wondering, it takes about two hours once the milk is brought in to make it to the shelves."

The Wesselhoeft's say the glass bottles keep the milk a lot colder and fresher.

"It's a wonderful thing. I think we can even say Blountstown is getting greener and greener. I'm walking away with a bunch of cheese that I can't wait to have to eat," Anna Layton, a customer said.

The Wesselhoefts are hoping within the next few months to start making profit of their own instead of shipping it to a cooperative.

"Today is a big day for us because we've worked long and hard to stay a small family farm. And now to have the dream come true is amazing," Wesselhoeft added.

And they say being able to pass this family business on to another generation of Wesselhoefts will give them udder satisfaction.

Six area stores are already stocking the Wesselhoefts milk. They're also hoping to begin producing ice-cream very soon.

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