Durham cheese company ships coast-to-coast
A family-owned farm in Marion County doesn’t sound like the typical location for a national cheese company, but Jason Wiebe Dairy is just that.
Located in Durham, the Wiebes ship cheeses to more than 16 states across the country.
The products are very popular, and customers will visit Dale’s Supermarket just for the cheese, owner Dale Franz said.
“There are people who come in from all around,” he said. “They’ve had it somewhere and they come in because they’re specifically looking for a certain cheese.”
The store has featured Wiebe cheeses for three years, Franz said.
“It’s something that promotes the area, more local stuff that promotes,” he said. “We try to do that with as many things as possible that come locally.”
The Wiebes received a state permit to sell cheese in 2003. Prior to that, they sold raw cheese from their home in small portions under the state’s raw milk laws.
They now sell two tons per month, but it is a meticulous process to find the right balance.
“There’s science in cheese-making, from the get-go,” Wiebe said. “I always try to find what the market wants, what there’s demand for.”
He makes the basic Colby and cheddar cheeses, as well as several specialty cheddars.
“We also have specialty-aged, raw-milk cheddar,” he said. “That was designed by a cheese consultant out of St. Louis. He’s extremely knowledgeable about cheese.”
The effect can be seen at Dale’s, where they might need to expand the amount of shelf space for Wiebe cheeses.
“We carry most of their line of items,” Franz said. “We intermingle two or three different varieties in one row. It could be to the point soon where we have each item specifically designated in a row.”
Franz enjoys the brand as a whole, but he does have a bias.
“I just love cheese,” he said. “I like their marble cheese, which is very good, and I like their sharp cheeses.”