Helvatia Creamery: time-honored Swiss alps cheese
Dave Grossen has a rich history with cheese making. His great grandfather immigrated to Oregon from Switzerland with his father in the late 1800s and made mountain cheese called Bergkase together on their Oregon Century farm in Helvatia until 1937. They sold the cheese in the neighborhood and in Portland along with potatoes and apples which were delivered by horse and wagon.
Grossen, who grew up in Helvatia on a dairy farm with 30 milking cows, visited Switzerland in 1989 where he visited distant relatives who made Bergkase in the alps. He visited their cheese making school and talked them into sharing their Bergkase cheese making manual.
Today, Grossen's Bergkase cheese can be found Saturdays at Beaverton Farmers. They sell three alpine cheeses-Bergkase, Apfelheller (a Gruyere-style cheese) and Kasli which means "young, little cheese."
All their cheese is made from raw milk from their small herd of four happy and healthy Brown Swiss cows, the same cows which his grandfather raised and suited to making alpine cheese. Four times a week the cheese making process is started at 5 a.m. with a complex series of heating the milk, cutting the curd and pressing. Sounds easy, but specific temperatures and techniques are required with his family's recipe.
"The best part of being a farmstead cheese maker is guiding the entire process from seed to selling," Grossen said. "The hard work pays off in the end with the privilege of sharing our story with our friendly, enthusiastic customers at the Beaverton Farmers Market."
Beaverton Farmers Market
Southwest Hall Boulevard, between Third and Fifth Streets, Beaverton