Monday, December 16, 2013

Taylor Luttrell-Williams (14) in Terlingua, Texas

Winner of Our 35th Anniversary Essay Contest

Taylor's winning essay may be found in our December Moosletter.

We seem to have picked a very interesting young man to be our contest winner.  See if you don't agree when you read part of a thank-you note his mother, Glenda sent us:

...Tay has maintained straight A's, has gotten an impressive scholarship to two amazing music camps for fiddle and banjo, runs cross country, is his 9th grade class student government representative, moved to the state level history fair for writing an amazing research paper focusing on the impact that the border closures had on the communities on BOTH sides of our border in our area, and makes delicious cheeses and ice cream.

Tay asked that for "HIS' Christmas gift, I purchase a goat for a family in need.

Your recognition of his strengths and talents and also gift of the new press has made his hard work so worth it!! He is on CLOUD NINE!!!

I asked Taylor a few questions, so we could know more about his life:

Where do you get your milk?

Terlingua is a very isolated desert town, and my nearest source for milk is on a ranch in Marathon, TX, 110 miles north of Terlingua.  I make monthly visits to this ranch, where I stock up on raw milk (I primarily use raw milk).

On average, I receive 8 plus gallons of milk from the goats and jerseys, in exchange for working.*  I work with the cows milk shortly after I receive it, and I freeze the goats milk to work with over time.

* Usually, I help sanitize cheese making equipment (the owner makes cheese too) and clean jars and milk cans, but this last visit, I helped cover hay bales.  The owner of the ranch is always very generous and supportive!

What have you been using for a press and a "cave?"

I use an old dutch style cheese press that I have been borrowing, and I am happy to have one of my own now.

Because the only caves in Terlingua are mine shafts, I settle with a wine refrigerator.  This is a small, but nice refrigerator with adjustable temperature settings.  I have fitted the interior with aging mats on racks, and use a small humidifier (or sometimes a bowl of water)  to maintain adequate humidity on the bottom portion of the fridge.

Have you had any challenges to meet when making your cheese?

Over the course of my cheese making experience, I have not encountered many problems, other than a few (I have found that some cheeses do not play well with others), and also discovered the problem with UP organic milk and curd formation!

What are your cheese making goals?

As for my goals, I intend to make cheese as long as I can, hopefully for the remainder of my life. 

My main goals are to further my interest by branching out and learning about different styles of cheeses, from different animals, and from different areas around the world, while learning the science behind cheese also.

Cheese making is something that I wish to keep as a life long hobby, doing it because I want to and not because I have to.  Most importantly, I hope to perfect the art of cheese making (over time) and create cheese that is both aesthetically pleasing and delicious.

Cheese making has presented, for me, an unusual kind of hobby, but I plan on developing it, and sticking to it.

What are your other interests?

The pictures that I sent to you are some photos that I took during the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, Washington.  Apart from cheese making, I dedicate most of my time to playing the fiddle and the banjo.

I have been playing violin for about seven years, three of which were dedicated to playing classical music.  At some point, when I was 10, I decided that I was going to branch out, so I quit my classical lessons.

For the last four years, I have furthered my music, playing a variety of fiddle tunes including Cape Breton style, French Canadian, Irish, Klezmer, Spanish/American, and Old Time traditional American tunes primarily.

About two years ago, I took up the fret-less banjo, and I immediately loved it.  Because of Terlingua's amazing music scene, I have been given the chance to play music with some interesting people, and my music has taken me many places.  I love playing the traditional forms of music, learning about their history, and helping to preserve them.


Mark Leisen said...

What a great winner and example of a fine young man! I hope Tay continues his passion for cheesemaking, music, education and community involvement. I fully expect to see him at a future American Cheese Society competition and who knows? Maybe he can add a blue ribbon to his already many accomplishments. Well done and congratulations Tay!

Amy said...

Wow, congrats to you Taylor! You truly are an inspiration. I love to see a younger generation grasp this artisanal talent and share it with others. I wish you the very best with your endeavors!

Jenny said...

You are truly an amazing young man. I love the passion and determination... a role model for your peers {young and old)!! Congrats and keep up the good work! Blessings!!

Elizabeth Mills said...

Sob sob... I cried with happiness! LOVE the remarkable character Tay demonstrates, and looking forward to watching him grow and mature into an outstanding man! You hit a grand slam with Tay, Miss Ricki! God bless this young man, and his family! Congratulations to you, Ricki... on your new Princess grand daughter!

Vegan Cocina said...

Wow, this is amazing! Congratulations Taylor, so proud of all he has accomplished and he's only 14. You have a bright future ahead of you, Taylor. Keep up the great work.

Vegan Cocina said...

Wow, this is amazing! Congratulations Taylor, so proud of all he has accomplished and he's only 14. You have a bright future ahead of you, Taylor. Keep up the great work.

Vegan Cocina said...

Wow, this is amazing! Congratulations Taylor, so proud of all he has accomplished and he's only 14. You have a bright future ahead of you, Taylor. Keep up the great work.

Dalyn Weller said...

What an amazing guy!! I am so impressed.

Asa Bishop said...

I found you Taylor!! It's me Asa!