Posted: Jul 19, 2012 2:17 PM by Robin O'Day - KPAX News
Updated: Jul 19, 2012 3:44 PM
POLSON- When you think of Polson, you may think of ripe cherries, but one couple is putting other tasty treats on the table. Reporter Robin O'Day recently was introduced to Flathead Lake Cheese.
Joe and Wendi Arnold lost their corporate jobs after the 9/11 attacks, and had an idea to move to Polson full-time and turn their cheese making hobby into a business.
"That chapter closed on that part of my life. I didn't want to find another corporate job because I took some time off and went, wow, I like myself better," Wendi told us.
She has found doing something she loves can also be her career.
"This has taken off a lot faster than we thought it was going to. You always think ‘oh okay it's going to be slow, we can ease into things. I'll have some time to do this'. No!" she laughed.
Solar panels above the cave generate energy to run the building and cheese making.
"It circulates down to the first floor into a large 300 gallon solar storage tank that kind of like a storage battery that we use to hold all the heat that we collect. Then in the winter we use it to heat the building, then in the summer we use it to help with our pasteurization process," Joe explained.
There are now four different cheeses, some of which are featured in local restaurants and grocery stores. But it's not just cheese Joe and Wendi want to be known for. Most of their equipment is recycled, something that fits in with their reusable business approach.
"A lot of our stainless steel we rescued was going eventually to be shipped off to China to be re-melted and made into something else. We just grabbed it before it was going to be made into something else," Joe said.
The Arnold's told us that they hope to have cheese classes and tours of their facility in the near future.
Learn more about Flathead Lake Cheese by following them on Facebook.