Blending Tradition With Technology
      We do not yet offer tours at our Chateaugay, NY plant, but this virtual tour shows you how we make our cheeses. Step right up, the tour is about to begin...
 
   
Step 1
Fresh, wholesome milk is collected daily from cows that thrive on the abundant green pastures of Northern New York. The milk is inspected, weighed, and sampled for the quality and butterfat essential for fine cheese. It is then transferred to stainless steel silos, the starting point before it travels through the maze of pipes and vats inside the plant. The first step is to heat the milk to aid in the growth of the cheese cultures, and to deactivate spores which would otherwise cause serious flavor defects in the cheese-all necessary steps to assure flavor and quality.
 
   
Step 2
The milk is pumped into enclosed cooking vats, each holding 50,000 pounds of milk. Before the arrival of electronic controls, open cooking vats were used. Closed vats provide for tighter control of the product, and help ensure that every batch is consistently manufactured to McCadam's high standards. While in the vats, starter cultures of lactic acid bacteria are added to the milk. These cultures will grow to develop the distinctive flavors that are unique to each cheese variety. Throughout the cheeses' production it is tested, at various stages, for moisture content, acidity, and flavor.
 
   
Step 3
The milk forms a soft coagulum while resting in the cooking vats. The coagulum is cut with knives and sliced into curd-like particles. The temperature in the vats is then slowly raised, separating the liquid whey from the curds of cheese. At this point, the curds and whey are pumped to the salting tables, where the whey is drained and the curds are hand-salted.
 
   
Step 4
After salting, the curds are transferred to the block-forming towers. The blocks are formed when vacuum presses the curds together and creates uniform blocks weighing approximately 40 pounds. The blocks are automatically moved to belts that carry them to the packaging area. The automatic machine operations allow for a streamlined flow-through design from each step of the cheese process to the next.
 
   
Step 5
The cheese blocks are carried on conveyor belts to be packed in vacuum-sealed packaging. Individual 40-pound blocks are packaged and boxed on an automated line. For larger orders, multiple blocks are packaged in lined, wooden crates which move automatically along a stainless steel track. The 680-pound blocks are pressed and sealed in a large vacuum chamber specifically designed for them. The final step in the production line is the application of labels to the product containers.
 
   
Step 6
Finally, the packaged cheese is moved on lifts to the cheese cooling rooms. The cooling rooms are large enough to house several types of cheeses at one time. The cheese is kept under controlled temperature and humidity while it ages to provide our customers with the best possible product.

You are now familiar with the great care and attention that is given to each batch of cheese produced here at Chateaugay. We hope that you will take an opportunity to taste some of McCadam's great cheeses.