Lindsay Klaunig took a circuitous path — one that led her across the country and around the world — before coming back to Indiana to take on the duties of cheesemaker at Traders Point Creamery.
The 26-year-old Zionsville native was described as “one of a new generation of farmers searching for new models that will sustain us into the next century” by award-winning video journalist Rachel Leventhal, who photographed her while working at New Jersey’s Bobolink Dairy.
After leaving high school before graduating and later attending Indiana University, Klaunig headed to Washington state to get into farming. She picked blueberries in the summer and spent her evenings at a nearby creamery.
That’s when she decided to pursue cheesemaking, which led to an apprenticeship in New Jersey before she returned to Washington to manage a 200-head herd of sheep at a dairy that made sheep’s milk blue cheeses. She traveled to Romania and Ecuador and was chosen as a delegate to the 2008 Terra Madre, the international Slow Food conference in Italy, although she could not attend.
Klaunig’s most recent position was as cheesemaker at the well-established Consider Bardwell Farm in Vermont, which makes award-winning goat and cow milk cheeses under the direction of well-known cheesemaker Peter Dixon.
That’s where Traders Point Creamery owner Jane Elder Kunz found her new cheesemaker.
The young cheesemaker had been living in a tent cottage she built herself — “a shack,” as she called it — and situated nearly a mile into the Vermont woods.
A Dec. 16 post on the farm’s blog (ConsiderBardwellFarm.wordpress.com) documented her departure.
“After one last zero-degree night, our cheesemaker, Lindsay Klaunig, finally packed in her home of the past eight months,” the blog noted. “Living alone in her wall tent on the remote acres of Consider Bardwell Farm, the brave lady was the sensation of West Pawlet, defying all the local bets on how long she could bear the cold, wind and snow. 8Lindsay’s presence will be sorely missed at CBF.”
Now she’s living in a house at Traders Point, working on the new Greek yoghurt. This fall, she’ll reintroduce the creamery’s Fleur de la Terre as a raw milk cheese. Look for Klaunig to create washed and bloomy rind cheeses, smear-ripened cheeses, perhaps even a blue.
“The lure for me is the milk,” Klaunig said. “They tempted me with the potential to make raw milk cheese out of really good milk.”