flathead lake cheese
wendi & joe arnold
Down at the base of Polson Bay, you’ll find a bright yellow, two story building with a 140 tube solar array crowning a copper roof; the home of Flathead Lake Cheese. Husband and wife team, Joe and Wendi Arnold, did the majority of the building themselves and became operational in March of 2012. Creating a solar thermal based pasteurization process is just one of the unique features of their facility. Using what was once a cold bank cooler, now converted into a vat pasteurizer, the Arnolds create artisanal cheeses 300 gallons of locally collected milk at a time.
Reuse, repurpose, recycle – from sun to milk to equipment, FLC has put their ideas into practice. Their imaginative reuse and repurposing of items and equipment is readily seen when touring the facility where there are very few brand new items. ‘It was always our goal to recycle wherever we could’, says Wendi Arnold, owner, ‘as it not only makes sense responsibly but also financially. It also adds a touch of nostalgia as many of the sinks, tables and like came out of now gone local favorites such as The Rancho, helping to tie our business to fond memories of the past.
They have created what they call Montana style Goudas; closer to a traditional English Cheddar than a Gouda with a drier paste (or body), often a crystalline crunch and a satisfying full mouth feel. A wonderfully sophisticated taste from the wilds of Montana.
A full listing and descriptions of their cheeses and activities can be found on their website www.FlatheadLakeCheese.com.