In an era of synthesized food products and plastic bag snacks, freshly made food with completely organic ingredients is something us foodies value – like a piece of pure gold. Let us introduce you to some 16-karat goodness – farmer’s cheese!
Yes, the majority of foodies in Pakistan yearn for a good variety in cheese. We see foreign cooking shows on television, and hear the names of all these alien-sounding names for cheese! Well, one chefling in Lahore is all set to change that with his amazing variety of fresh homemade cheeses. Farmer’s farm fresh Cheese is an initiative by Imran Saleh, a man who’s passionate for cheese making is second to none. He tells his chefling tale in his own words:
“Cheese making for me started as a weekend hobby, and soon turned into a daily waste of milk. Cheese making is not something one can learn in a few weeks, or even a few months. It consists of understanding the chemistry of milk. I later made a laboratory at the back of my house and carried out experiments there. Initially, the rate of failure was high, but in a period of one year, I managed to make good buffalo mozzarella.
The passion for cheese making had now been triggered within me, and I found myself dedicating more and more time to it. I was trying my hand at different types of cheese, and the outcome kept improving with practice. The more I was working with it, the more I was falling in love with cheese.Taking part in a farmers market showed me that I could turn this passion into a business. Realizing its potential, I started working on the idea for Pakistan’s first artisan cheese company.
Initially, my factory was a single room operation. It has since transformed into four big rooms with production, storage, packing and office facilities. I was also running a page on Facebook called Famer’s Cheese (https://www.facebook.com/farmerscheese), which was drawing in fans on a regular basis. I was getting orders from all over Lahore, and cheese making began on a daily basis . I now had employees and a delivery service. People liked my produce, and the business is expanding rapidly. Many big names in the restaurant space are now my customers. These include, Cosa Nostra, Lahore Social, Pantry House, The Patio, Pie In The Sky, Martinez Cafe, and Pizza Roulette.
I was also getting queries from Karachi and a few months back, I successfully expanded my operations to the cosmopolitan town as well. This is more than a business to me, me and my employees abide by strict hygiene rules at the factory.
Right now, we are producing over 20 varieties of cheese, including Mozzarella, Boconccini, Cottage, Cottage with herbs and peppers, Halloumi, Mascarpone, Ricotta, Gouda, Gouda with herbs, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Emmental, Havarti, Provolone, Brie, Taleggio, Feta, English Cheddar, Goat Gouda, Goat White, Goat Halloumi, Goat Taleggio, and Goat Cheddar. There are more varieties lined up in our pipeline as well.
In a few months, I plan to computerize our order taking process. My intentions and goals are to provide international quality cheese in Pakistan, with no preservatives or artificial flavors, and 100% Halal, for complete peace of mind.”
Now that is quite a tale, and a great insight from a true food entrepreneur. We hope Imran continues to expand Farmer’s Cheese, and that his story inspires other cheflings to produce more organic products right here in Pakistan.