Our Short History
HOW WE STARTED OUR AWARD WINNING CHEESE.
Back in the Fall of 2012, Deeann and Jackie decided to try to make cheese for the first time. They had been making beer and wine together for a few years, but just couldn’t keep up with what they were making. Jackie had also married a Dairy Farmer, so she had a fresh supply of great milk.
The first cheese we ever made was a quick mozzarella. We thought it was great at first, but an hour later realized it was a flavorless cross between mozzarella and “the blob”.
We decided to try again, but this time we used cultures to make a cheddar cheese from a recipe we got from a local beer making supply store which also sold some simple cheese making ingredients. This time, it looked, felt, smelled, and tasted like cheese! We thought we’d keep trying, and it just got better.
We liked our cheese so much that we thought we could start to sell it. Our friends and family seemed to really like it, so why wouldn’t everyone else. We knew we needed the help of a dairy expert, so we asked our friend, Kathy if she’d like to join our venture. I don’t think we got the question out completely before she said yes. She grew up on a dairy farm, used to have her own herd, and has a degree and animal husbandry.
With the 3 of us ready to go, we really began researching what we needed in order to make this a successful business.
Our Story Continues
MORE EXCITING THINGS ARE COMING.
We’ve visited numerous cheese plants in Minnesota and Wisconsin, asking questions of anyone we can. We joined the American Cheese Society. We took courses to learn as much as we could. We found contractors who are helping us develop business plans and grant proposals..
In the Fall of 2015, Jackie got a message from the Cannon Falls, MN Director of Economic Development and Planning, Dave Maroney. He had heard we were looking for a home, and asked us to come meet with him. We did, and loved what we heard. Thus was born our relationship with our new hometown, Cannon Falls.
The story doesn’t end, it just continues. So many exciting things are happening for us. We hope you keep visiting our site to see what new things have occurred and where you can find our cheese. We can’t wait to share our locally made, family friendly, artisan cheeses with you!
Owners of Cannon Belles
Owner Deeann Lufkin is a retired Air Force Reserves Officer. She retired June 1, 2016 after 20 years of service as a weather officer. She has 20 years of leadership experience and has created numerous Standard Operating Procedures for various organizations. She has taken the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Course, is a member of the American Cheese Society (ACS), and attended the most recent ACS Conference in June 2015. She will be taking a Food Safety Course and continue to attend various cheese conferences in 2016, in order to improve her knowledge of cheese making so that she can produce the safest and best tasting cheese possible.
Owner Kathy Hupf is passionate about the dairy industry and entrepreneurship. She has spent most of her life working and living on a dairy farm, managing her own herd of cows for 18 years and has a clear sense of what it takes to run a successful business. She brings a strong work ethic, knowledge of the dairy business, and a network of people in the dairy industry to the team. Currently she is the Children and Family Ministries Coordinator at a Methodist church and oversees programming for approximately 160 children and their families. She has experience with marketing, organizing, and managing staff. She is thrilled to return to the dairy industry in this new and exciting cheese business and to be an integral part of growing and promoting the local foods market in the Cannon Falls area.
Team member Jackie Ohmann is a dairy farmer wife and Director of Christian Education at a Lutheran church. She has experience organizing and marketing events and a working understanding of the dairy world. She loves learning new things and is excited about the cheese business as a way to add value to the dairy market, bring a clean, good product to the market accessible to families, and build up a business that can be passed down to her daughter someday.