Experienced Cheesemaker

Prodigal Farm
January 8, 2018
Job Type
Posting Duration
60 days


Expanding, delicious and respected farmstead dairy is looking for an experienced cheesemaker.  Your compensation will depend on the responsibilities you are able to assume, and will increase as your knowledge and contribution to our enterprise increases.

We’re located in Rougemont, North Carolina (roughly thirty minutes' drive north of downtown Durham). We are a seasonal, Animal Welfare Approved, pasture-based goat dairy milking about 90 goats. We produce a variety of very distinctive bloomy rind, washed rind, semi hard, and blue cheeses from their milk, and additional cheese varieties with milk from a nearby (also Animal Welfare Approved) cow dairy, enabling the creamery to be productive year-round. Our cheeses have won three national awards and we're working to build on that record, and expand our distribution.

Our farm has three groups with largely separate duties:  creamery, “farm side” and, on a temporary basis in the spring, kid care.  We look for people joining us to share a passion for the animals and the land, even when they will not be working directly with that part of the farm. We encourage you to check out our Facebook and Instagram to learn more about us. We serve on national and local boards, and value community involvement.

Job Duties & Responsibilities

With this position you can expect to:

  • Work 40+ hour work weeks. This changes from season to season; spring and early summer are our peak season and it’s all hands on deck and no vacation; winter is far more relaxed.
  • Work 5 days on, 2 days off. We make a strong effort to give employees two consecutive days off a week but there are sometimes events that we need all hands on deck for, such as our goat festival days, when we can expect upwards of 1000 people to attend.
  • Start hourly (including overtime pay) and become salaried.
  • Do lots of cleaning! We’re a small operation and everyone is involved in sanitation.
  • Lift often!  Many of the tasks we perform require lifting and manipulating equipment and products that are in excess of 50 lbs. On top of that, we are often cleaning inside large tanks or working on ladders in our aging spaces.
  • Work in refrigerated environments part of the time, doing affinage.
  • Start early in the morning. Several mornings each week, someone must start setting up the pasteurizer by 5:30 am; we rotate between team members for the task. This is crucial so that the bulk tank is empty and clean before morning milking starts at 7:00 am. The rest of the week, we start at 7 a.m.
  • Receive continuing formal cheese education off the farm.

Skills & Experience

We are looking for an experienced cheesemaker who:

  • Has 3-4 years commercial artisan cheesemaking experience, including an ability to follow and troubleshoot established recipes. We still like to get creative and come up with one-offs too!
  • Has some experience training and supervising other employees, such as interns.
  • Will follow, document, and continue to improve our HAACP program, and interface with regulatory personnel.
  • Use a pH meter and other technical equipment.
  • Has a strong understanding of cheese math.
  • Has a methodical disposition in everyday tasks.
  • Has good problem-solving skills.  A creamery is a very custom environment and so many elements of equipment, process, seasonality and climate interact to vary the finished product.
  • Has some flexibility with her or his schedule. Cheese is alive; while we can manipulate certain aspects to get things done in a specific time table, there are exceptions. We schedule a start time and say that the day is done when the tasks are done.
  • Has a collaborative spirit and positive attitude.
  • Demonstrates meticulous attention to details.
  • Has good focus, communication skills, and information retention.
  • Helps ensure that work flow is properly prioritized and timely completed, ingredient and equipment service needs are anticipated, and staff time is properly planned and utilized;
  • Has a passion and dedication for cheese and continual improvement as part of a team!

Compensation & Benefits

Hourly to start (including overtime); becoming salaried with paid time off.

Other Details

Our creamery employees are required to:

  • Have a reliable automobile
  • Have a working cell phone
  • Not smoke
  • Live within a 30 minute driving radius of the farm; much closer seems to work better (given the early hours). Housing is not included but we work to help employees find housing in the area.

How to Apply

To apply, please 1. email detailing your interest, 2. provide a resume, 3. provide three work references, and 4. let us know when you are available to start.  We're looking for someone to start in mid to late February, ideally.