Thursday, November 20, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

UCD cheese: a lost legacy

By
From page A1 | April 22, 2014 |

Did you know?

It takes 21.2 pounds of whole milk to make 1 pound of butter, and 10 pounds of whole milk to make 1 pound of cheese

Gone are the days in which UC Davis made its own cheese, milk and ice cream.

Those wanting to study the art of making dairy products from a practical — and not theoretical — standpoint have to hike down to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, which still has a dairy processing plant.

Theoretical sciences of processing cow’s milk still takes place at UCD. The university’s dairy production currently supports a small staff of 4 1/2, plus four undergraduate pre-veterinary students. The students provide the behind-the-scenes, around-the-clock care for the dairy department’s 110 Holsteins and jerseys, who produce about 1,000 gallons of milk per day, 365 days a year, said Ed DePeters of the Dairy Teaching Research Facility — “Dr. D” to his students.

Samantha Eisner, 19, a freshman animal science major, works to milk, feed and care for milk cows in the department.

“It’s a great opportunity — one you can’t get anywhere else. Part of the reason I took calf-feeding is because of how unique it is,” said Eisner, who plans to become a small animal veterinarian. “It’s unlike anything you could do here and you get a lot of hands-on experience you wouldn’t get just sitting in a lecture hall.”

All of UCD’s milk today, and for roughly the past decade, has gone to the Hilmar Cheese Company. The Northern California company employs 1,000 people in a town with a population of about 5,000. UCD’s milk is a small fraction of the 2 million gallons of milk per day and 2 million pounds of cheese per day produced by Hilmar.

Before Hilmar, UCD’s milk went to Crystal Creamery in Sacramento.

Under perceived pressure from California dairy producers, UCD closed down the campus’ dairy processing plant in 1959. Local dairy operators believed it unfair that a public institution could cut into their profits.

Lost to history with the closing of on-campus milk processing was UCD’s hallmark “brick cheese — a light cheese, white and soft, like a pepper jack — that was our reputation,” said John Bruhn, emeritus UCD Cooperative Extension specialist, who handled outreach education and research in the food sciences and began working for the university in 1962.

Similar reputations are still found in land-grant universities like University of Wisconsin, Washington State and Penn State, who produce signature ice creams and cheeses, he said.

According to Ann Scheuring’s 2001 publication, “Abundant Harvest: The History University of California, Davis”: “After WWII, when scientific research intensified in every field, the dairy division changed the organization of its subject matter for instruction. By the early 1950s the previous emphasis on the manufacturing of major commodities — butter, cheese, ice cream and market milk — shifted to a modified chemical engineering approach, with emphasis on the application of specific processing techniques to products in general.

“Many firms in the dairy industry were by this time large and prosperous enough to offer their own training to new employees, and enrollments in the UCD non-degree dairy program, so long a mainstay at the campus, began to wane. When the university officially terminated the two-year curricula in 1959, the department of dairy industry was administratively merged into the department of food technology, and the historic unit, after 51 years, ceased to exist as an entity.

“The commercial operations of the university creamery, which had sold campus-manufactured dairy products to local customers for many years, also ceased in 1959.”

George Waye, 73, sometimes reminisces about UCD’s dairy production facility in its heyday.

“All of the production that our campus used to give to the town — it’s not like it used to be,” said Waye, a lifelong Davis resident. “When a crop was done and it was time to harvest, they managed to find ways to provide (food) for the campus workers. The dairy industry used to make ice cream on campus and sell it to the citizens on the town with a UCD logo at a rock-bottom price.

“They weren’t just learning fermentation, but they were learning marketing to make the sales, and the town loved it because they could send it to their friends, and they were proud of Davis,” Waye added.

Bruhn remembers the old times as well.

“People would come around Christmastime and ask where the dairy store was,” he said. “They operated a creamery and a store. Campus and the city could come in and buy ice cream, cottage cheese, milk and cheese.”

Bruhn said there were about eight milk brands available in Davis in the 1950s such as Borden and Crystal, as well as a local drive-in dairy processor at the site of the current downtown Subway restaurant at Second and G streets.

“These companies were upset that UCD was competing with them for their market,” he said. “We weren’t really putting anyone out of business, but the companies said we were a public institution receiving tax dollars.”

Additionally, profits made from UCD dairy sales went into the university’s general fund and not back to the creamery itself, which made the creamery appear to not be profitable. In reality, it was profitable, he added.

“I don’t have numbers, but it was relatively small volume because we weren’t in a commercial setting,” he added. “We wanted to make enough so that the students learning how to do this would have a learning experience — just enough to teach them.”

Bruhn said there has been some talk of bringing back the UCD-logo brick cheese, perhaps made by a nearby cheese maker under the original UCD recipe.

— Reach Jason McAlister at jmcalister@davisenterprise.net

Comments

comments

Jason McAlister

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    ‘Dolphin Way’ author to speak at Davis Parent University

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    What’s in Village Harvest’s new name? Local control

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    UC committee approves tuition hike

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Jumpstart Davis hopes to spark Davis’ startup scene

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1

     
    First of three storms douses California

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Analyst: No ‘fiscal cliff’ when tax hikes end

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Cost of Thanksgiving is going up, but not by much

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Bera prevails in close congressional race

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Staying clean could harm your health

    By Pat Bailey | From Page: A3

    Per Capita Davis: News from the funny papers

    By John Mott-Smith | From Page: A3

     
    Pre-Thanksgiving Farmers Market open on Nov. 26

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Realtors seek canned food donations Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Taize services offered at DCC

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    NAMI support group meets Sunday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Racial justice resources available at open house Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    #EggFreezing trends for women in tech

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A3

     
    STEAC jeans drive on Dec. 10

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

    Breakfast with Santa tickets available now

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    San Diego advances plan to recycle wastewater

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Fraternity launches ‘Green the Greeks’ program

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Museum displays family heirlooms

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    End a hike with qigong practice

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Apply now to take Master Gardener training

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Walkers welcome to join Sierra Club outings

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Join DHS Madrigals for annual evening of food and music

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

    Performers sought to liven up holiday markets

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    For the vets

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    .

    Forum

    Caregivers overlook a valuable ally

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Senior kitty needs a home

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    We urge a ‘no’ vote on BDS

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    David Brooks: Obama in winter

    By David Brooks | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    Blue Devil pool teams make one more splash

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Offensive line, Turay provide impressive UCD convoy

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Young DHS harriers have a big day at section championships

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Youth roundup: Diamonds shine at Level 4 state meet

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    DHS teacher puts his facial hair on the line in annual fundraiser

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    What’s happening

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A7

     
    Backyard apples? It can be done

    By Don Shor | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Name Droppers: Governor taps UC Davis grad for bench

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Robotics team takes second in Madera competition

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    .

    Arts

     
    ‘Cat Ballou’ closes Western film series

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Here’s a little more about water conservation

    By Michael Lewis | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    DMTC plans tile-painting fundraiser

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Nancy Shepard

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    As usual, three’s a crowd

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, November 20, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6