09 April 2013
Alfred Mathys retires from Rumiano Cheese after 30 years
It's sad to see Alfred leave after 30 years of cheese-making for Rumiano Cheese. Joby Rumiano -- fourth generation cheese maker -- has written a letter showing what an important asset Alfred Mathys was to the Rumiano Family:
"Rumiano Cheese Company has had its share of great cheese makers throughout its 92-year history. Early in the 1920's John, Fred, and Richard Rumiano began making cheese, then came Raymond and George Rumiano who carried on the tradition, followed by Raymond's sons, John and Baird Rumiano, who hired the present-day master cheese maker Alfred Mathys. Alfred's knowledge of microbiology and bacteriology, along with his expertise in the art of cheese making, has allowed Rumiano Cheese Company to become one of the finest cheese manufacturers in the world.
Alfred knew from an early age that he would like to pursue cheese making as a profession and, from ages 16 to 19 he chose to apprentice at a cheese factory near his home in Switzerland. The education system in Switzerland teaches elementary school through grade 9 and then requires each student to choose what profession he or she will pursue as a career. The student is then required to apprentice at the occupation before attending a specialized school where they master their craft. Alfred continued his education apprenticing at other cheese factories in Switzerland from age 19-24, making Emmentaler and Appenzeller cheeses and earning a letter from his elder master cheese maker to attend the local dairy school Rutti Zolikofen. While attending Rutti Zolikofen dairy school Alfred was taught about the microbiology and bacteriology involved in milk and in making cheese and eventually earned his masters in cheese making.
On June 27, 1977, Alfred moved to the United States and quickly found work in Illinois at a Parmesan cheese factory. While in Illinois he met his wife Katie and they talked about moving to the western United States. Tired of the cyclical weather fluctuations and the industrial style cheese making of the large cheese plants of Illinois, Alfred headed west with hopes of finding a new job making cheese for a small operation and eventually becoming the "master cheese maker." Alfred and Katie decided to take a road trip to California to look for work and a new home where Alfred saw a great opportunity to be a part of the "Real California Cheese" boom. After touring as far as Southern California and Texas, Alfred and Katie decided to pack their bags and in May of 1983, moved to Crescent City in Northern California to work for Rumiano Cheese Company.
Alfred says that the reason he chose Crescent City as his home was because of the climate, natural beauty, and the quality of the milk he has to work with everyday. Using that milk Alfred has won many national and international awards, and has come within five-tenths of a point from a World Championship medal. Throughout the years Rumiano Cheese Company production has grown from 2 million to over 12 million pounds of cheese manufactured per year, all of which is made in Crescent City. Alfred is set to retire at the end of this week after working 30 years here in Crescent City.
From all of the people at Rumiano Cheese Company, we wish him the best during his retirement as he travels the world. At Rumiano Cheese Company we take great pride in our product, but we also take great pride in our people."