New England Cheesemaking Supply Company
54B Whately Road
South Deerfield, MA 01373
Founded in 1978, when “home cheese making” was just a crazy idea, New England Cheesemaking Supply Company became the first supplier for home cheese makers in the U.S. and revolutionized the way people learn how to make cheese. We have taught thousands through our workshops, including many of the world’s best artisan cheese makers. Through our catalogue and website, we have sold our cheese making products to thousands of cheese makers. Now in its third edition, our book, Home Cheese Making, has sold more than 170,000 copies.
Products and Services
We supply hobbyists, chefs, foodies, and sustainable/natural/real-food-lifestyle customers with ingredients, equipment, and easy-to-use kits for making delicious cheeses at home, including Mozzarella, Cheddar, Feta, Cream Cheese and Colby. We also teach world renowned cheese making classes and maintain the world’s most complete home cheese making resource located on our website and blog at Cheesemaking.com.
We’ve either invented or innovated most of the home cheese making categories that exist today, including the home cheese press, cheese making kits, and even our own cheese (Fromagina) a proprietary blend of cheese making culture. We published the first home cheese making book and the first home cheese making supply catalogue, we created the first home cheese making website, and we developed the first home cheese making newsletter, all of which are going strong today.
Our founder, Ricki Carroll is fondly referred to as “The Cheese Queen.” Ricki’s daughter Sarah Carroll now manages the company with her husband Mark Chrabascz. We have ten employees and proudly partner with our local veterans organization for packaging many of our products. After nearly forty years and many changes, we’re delighted to still lead the craft and be its most vocal champion. How’d we manage it? We discovered something those many years ago that our customers have discovered too: That cheese making is only partly about the cheese. The rest is about the making. And if you do it right—with heart, with laughter, and with good friends, a day of cheese making can feel like magic.
To share the joy of cheesemaking through education, easy to use supplies and a supportive community around the world.
Back in 1978, Bob and Ricki Carroll welcomed two goats and a cow into their backyard farmstead. They quickly had an abundance of milk and decided they wanted to make cheese, but couldn't find a teacher or supplies for such a small scale operation. Realizing they weren’t the only ones unable to find supplies and information, their entrepreneurial gears started turning. Soon they booked a flight to England where they could truly learn the craft of cheese making. On little more than a whim before the trip, they submitted an ad to The Dairy Goat Journal:
"For a catalog of cheese making supplies please send 25 cents."
The trip was more than a success and sparked a desire to teach others how to make cheese. On their return, much to their surprise was an entire mail box stuffed with quarters. With that a business was born.
From that handful of quarters we've grown from a tiny kitchen table business to a thriving cheese making supply company. Recently we moved our expanding operations out of Ricki’s house and into a new office space filled with fun and laughter. Most of our employees have been with us for decades and in many ways we are like family.
1978 | New England Cheesemaking Supply Company is founded
1982-1983 | Our book Home Cheese Making (originally titled Cheese Making Made Easy) was first published. We appeared on The Today Show, and shortly after played an active role in the founding of The American Cheese Society.
1988 | We came out with our pre-packaged direct set cultures with rennet (which have been our best sellers ever since).
1997 | We republished the book Cheese and Fermented Milk Foods, Vols. I and II, written by Frank Kosikowski founder of The American Cheese Society and Vikram V. Mistry
2006-2007 | Famed author Barbara King Solver wrote an article for Food & Wine Magazine in 2006 based on a workshop with Ricki Carroll that she had attended. In 2007 Barbara again wrote about Ricki’s workshop, devoting an entire chapter to cheese making in her book Animal Vegetable Miracle. Business grew quickly from the exposure.
2010 | Operations moved out of Ricki’s home and into a new office space located in South Deerfield, MA. With this move Ricki handed the role of daily management to her daughter Sarah Carroll.
Founder and “Cheese Queen”
A home cheese making pioneer, Ricki spent decades learning the craft and fittingly earned the moniker "The Cheese Queen," a title that she wears with honor. Along with her husband Bob, Ricki started the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company in 1978 and took sole responsibility for it in 1990. Her popular book Home Cheese Making, often referred to as the "bible of home cheese making" has taught hundreds of thousands across the world, some of whom have become artisanal cheesemakers with award winning cheese. In 2013 Ricki won the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from The American Cheesemaking Society.
Ricki is no stranger to the spotlight. She’s spoken at countless cheese making workshops and events. The launch of her book landed her on The Today Show and she has been featured in countless newspapers and magazines across the country.
Expertise for the Media
For an ultimate inside view on the birth of a home cheese making movement, you can’t do better than Ricki. She can also provide you with valuable information on:
- Creating a self-sufficient lifestyle
- Growing a home-based business
- The life of an entrepreneur/artist
Head of Operations
Growing up in the family’s cheese making business left its mark on Sarah, but it was not until 2009 that she regularly began to work there. By 2010 she found herself working long past closing and when the company moved to its South Deerfield location that same year, she became responsible for daily management of the business.
Expertise for the Media
Sarah’s cheese making expertise runs in her blood and she can demonstrate cheese making in action. In addition, Sarah can speak on:
- Taking the reins of a family-owned business
- Re-engineering a corporate web strategy
- Managing change in the workplace
Technical Director and Facility Engineer
With a degree in mechanical engineering, and years of machining experience, Mark brings a mechanical mind to our creative business. Technically referred to as our Facilities Manager, his role goes much deeper. Mark happily handles a wide variety of tasks and has plans to pair his engineering experience with home cheese making in the future by creating new and exciting product lines.
Mark takes pride in his work and what our company stands for, he is especially proud of our involvement with a local veterans work group program. At home in much of his spare time, Mark can be found in the kitchen, immersed in learning the old world art of cheese making. Yes, we are excited to have Mark with us but in his eyes he’s the lucky one, being able to spend the day working alongside his wife Sarah and even bringing in their daughter Jocelyn. Mark couldn’t be happier with his cheese making life full of fun, friends and most importantly family.
Food and Wine Magazine
DIY Cheese, By Barbara Kingsolver
Following is an excerpt of Barbara Kingsolvers article:
"I know, you don't have time. Who does? To calm the great American subservience to hurry, to convince us that an hour or two spent rendering up cheese in our own kitchens could be worth the trouble—what would that take? A motivational speaker, an artist, a devotee, a pal who builds your confidence? A Cheese Queen, maybe?
The answer is yes, all of the above, and she exists. Her name is Ricki Carroll. Since 1978, when she started New England Cheesemaking Supply Company and began holding workshops in her western Massachusetts kitchen, she has taught some 7,500 people how to make cheese. That's not even counting those of us who ordered her supplies online and worked our way through her book, Cheesemaking Made Easy, which has sold over 100,000 copies (the new edition has been renamed Home Cheese Making). She's inspired artisans from the Loire to Las Vegas. Partly to hone my own skills, but largely out of curiosity, I sought out the woman whose Web site really does identify her as the Cheese Queen.
Her reign began even before the Sunday morning last spring when my family and several of our cheesemaking friends stepped onto the porch of a colorful Queen Anne with lupines and lilies blooming around the stoop. We walked through the door and fell through the looking glass into a place where cheesemaking antiques mix in with handmade dolls and African masks, unusual musical instruments and crazy quilts.
Ricki waved us into the big kitchen as she hastily pinned up her curly hair with a parrot-shaped barrette. She'd generously invited our group to sit in as her guests at an ordinary one-day workshop for beginners. We sat at long tables and introduced ourselves to the 20 other students. For several men this was a Father's Day gift. Others described practical goals: a chef hoped to broaden her culinary range; mothers desired healthier diets for their families. Martha, from Texas, owned water buffalo and dreamed of great mozzarella. Our common wish was to understand a food we felt passionate about."
click here for the full article
The Austin Chronicle Food-O-File
Behold the Making of Cheese, By Virginia Wood
Back during the holidays, I got a call from a guy who promised to send me a sample of his sister's great mozzarella cheesemaking kit for a trial run. "Sure, sure, send it along," I told him in my holiday haze. When the promised kit hadn't arrived by late January, I called looking for it. I eventually received a small package from The New England Cheesemaking Supply Company and the fun began.
The package contained Ricki's 30-Minute Mozzarella & Ricotta Kit, an instruction booklet, a supply of vegetable rennet tablets, citric acid, flake salt, a thermometer, and a piece of butter muslin. Who knew making cheese could be so quick and easy? With the contents of the kit, one gallon of whole milk from the grocery store, and 30 minutes, we had three-quarters of a pound of fresh, delicious mozzarella. The ricotta recipe takes longer only because it requires some hang time to drain. According to the kit, any milk will work with the recipes, regardless of the butterfat content, whether it's powdered or skim, from cows or goats. The booklet also offers recipes for things like lasagne, bocconcini (little mouthfuls of mozzarella marinated in herbs and olive oil), plus pizza dough and bread that can be made with the warm whey saved from the ricotta-making process. The package also contained the company's latest catalog, which features kits, equipment, supplies, mold cultures, books, and instructions. Pretty much everything you'd need to make cheese except the milk.
The 21-year-old New England company is the brainchild of cheese maker Ricki Carrol and her enthusiasm for her subject is obvious in the kit, the catalog, and the company Web site. And the cheese is great!
Cape Cod Times
Cheese Challenge, By Laurie Higgins
I was thrilled (and my husband was jealous) when I had an opportunity to attend a hands-on workshop, hosted by The Lamb and Lion Inn, to learn how to make my own cheese with Ricki Carroll, self-described cheese queen of New England.
There were home chefs, restaurant owners, artists and teachers of cooking classes. They all loved cheese and most of them loved to cook, or at least eat
The whole time she was cooking, Carroll passed out tidbits of information, stories about cheese and tips to make the process easier.
Since 1978, Ricki Carroll has taught literally thousands of people how to make cheese - usually in her home kitchen in Western Massachusetts....
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