Say, cheese, please!

Oak Park, Illinois, May 29, 2020 – Before the Oak Park Farmers Market fills up with fresh-grown produce later in the season, the early days of the Market feature some other delectable, fresh, organic treats, in particular: cheese.

Oak Park Farmers Market is fortunate to have two outstanding cheese makers join us. Here’s a little more about each one.

J2K Capraio Cheesemakers: A Family Affair

Josiah (Joe) and Jody Klinedinst have been making award-winning goat-milk and cows-milk cheeses from their creamery in Walkerton, Indiana, under the name J2K Capraio, for more than 20 years. Joe had always lived on a farm, and raising goats was his passion. But he realized his “hobby” could become a business. 

The Klinedinst family farm has 50+ goats, and milks about 30 of them to make goat-milk cheese, both fresh and aged. They purchase cows’ milk to make fresh and aged cheeses, too. Not long ago they started Indiana’s first underground cheese cave.  

The farm, and the farmers markets where they sell their products, are a family affair. Oldest of four, daughter Sofie, a recent high school graduate, covers the Oak Park Farmers Market and markets in Goshen, Indiana, and New Buffalo, Michigan. Her brother Justin manages the Chicago markets and helps on the farm. Two younger siblings help on the farm and tag along to markets, too.

Sofie shared her excitement for returning to the Oak Park Farmers Market when it opens in late May 2020. “We always make our cheese just a few days before the market starts. We want people to know they are getting the freshest product, everything [here] is family-run. We take care of the animals ourselves, we make the cheese ourselves, and then we sell the cheese ourselves.”

In these times she notes, “We are handling all products safely. Everything is clean and consistent.”

The J2KCapraio Facebook page provides a wonderful description of the operation: “Our farm is named J2K after ourselves with Capraio simply meaning ‘goat herd’ in Italian. We are a family of six living on a 22-acre goat farm in northwest Indiana. We own and operate a licensed farmstead dairy and artisan creamery hand-making fresh, feta, soft-ripened, blue, and aged cheeses as well as hand-spun gelati. We raise a variety of other animals and crops for our own consumption [and entertainment] as well as for a supplementary source of income. J2K is dedicated to sustainability, quality, and the re-education of eating well!”

In addition to selling at farmers markets and retail outlets, the family runs a gourmet deli and cheese shop called Oh, Mamma’s on the Avenue in South Bend.

J2K Capraio offers fresh cheeses from their own goat milk, from their own goats.

Brunkow Cheese Brings an International Flavor to the Farmers Market

Joe Burns is a third-generation cheesemaker where he does “a little bit of everything” for the family creamery Brunkow Cheese .  His family has been making traditional cheddars and Monterey Jack as well as old-world European cheeses in Southwest Wisconsin since 1899.

While they make a wide variety of cheeses, they are best-known at farmers markets for two in particular: the Finnish juustoleipa [juusto for short] and raclette, which was originally from Switzerland.  Brunkow calls its juusto “Brun-uusto.”  Juusto is made so it won’t melt when heated; and raclette is made specifically to melt and is known as an Alpine comfort food. Raclette is often served at Christmas markets and at  farmers markets that allow food service. Joe says these two cheeses set Brunkow Cheese “apart from the other Wisconsin cheesemakers.”

Under normal conditions, in addition to participating at Oak Park Farmers Market, Brunkow also sells at Chicago markets, including Green City, Daley Plaza and Logan Square, as well as the Evanston Farmers Market.

Joe is “thrilled to be back” for the upcoming Oak Park Farmers Market, stating, “It should be comforting for people to know at farmers markets, [customers] are buying from us. We made the cheese, and drove it directly to OP. In times of concern, they should know it was processed in our facility and then went straight to them.” He emphasized that farmers market patrons are getting a “high-quality product directly from the producer. We have a reputation for doing this and have been making a high-quality product for 120 years” with no middlemen in between.

For more on Brunkow Cheese (Baked Cheese House), here’s a description from their website :

“Located in the rolling hills of rural Darlington is Brunkow Cheese of Wisconsin. Since 1899 Brunkow Cheese has been creating over 50 varieties of artisanal and specialty cheeses. In addition to making all of our cheese by hand in small batches, we also age all of our cheeses on site. Here at Brunkow Cheese, we take pride and dedication in handcrafting some of the finest cheeses around, from our aged cheddars and our flavored Jacks to our specialty cheeses and spreads. We are also the proud recipients of 15 (and counting) awards for our fine cheeses.”

Brun-uusto is the unique cheese from Brunkow that doesn’t melt when heated. It’s available at their booth at the Oak Park Farmers Market.

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Published by writingdepaul

This is the site we use for student blog posts. I am their teacher.

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