Joaquin Avellan, CEO of Dos Lunas Cheese, graciously answered a few questions for us:
1. When and why did you decide to make cheese?
I just wanted to make something really good for my wife. And, I wanted it to be a gift from deep inside me, which meant from my homeland of Venezuela.
I am the chef in our home, and I put my heart on every plate. And, since my father had retired to a farm in the Andes and had started a dairy farm, I fell into cheesemaking during a long visit in 2011.
Back in Austin, I kept experimenting, putting more and more heart into more and more cheese. One day, my wife smiled and said she loved it (and me) but 80 gallons a week was too much for our kitchen and our refrigerator.
So, I pitched a tent at a farmer’s market and sold out the first day. Now, I put my heart onto every plate I can!
2. What kind of milk do you use?
The most pristine milk I could find in Central Texas, from Stryk Jersey Farm in Schulenburg, Texas. Their small herd of Jerseys are all grass-fed and free roaming, and I can literally taste the earth and the seasons in every bucket, all year round.
Bob and Darlene Stryk are the best, wonderful and ethical farmers and such good souls. You can taste all that goodness in their milk, too.
3 What is your favorite cheese that you make?
Dos Lunas Clasico. It is based on my father's recipe from Venezuela. Trying to capture that particular queso fresco taste in a freshly aged cheese was the original inspiration for establishing Dos Lunas Artisan Cheeses. And besides, it melts so well and makes a mean quick quesadilla.
4. Are there new products in the works?
Oh yes! Every year we design new cheeses, and for the past year we have been developing cave aged cheeses with a rind. The prototypes have been very successful, and I can't wait to share them with the world as well.
5. What are your favorite things about Wheatsville Co-op?
Wheatsville, being a co-op, is quite literally about sharing, about coming together with the best we have. It’s about community, and about sharing true health in our community. That’s exactly what Dos Lunas aspires to be about as well.
And, Wheatsville didn’t just buy from us. They have engaged with us and helped us so much, with everything from how to improve our packaging to encouraging us to create more flavors.
We admire the generous sharing spirit of Wheatsville.