Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Manwaring Cheese opens Idaho Falls location

Justin Manwaring at Manwaring Cheese's new Idaho Falls store, which opened Tuesday.
Sweet dreams are made of cheese.

For those of you who savor the squeak of a white cheese curd -- and you know who you are -- Manwaring Cheese is now open in Idaho Falls, at 310 N. Eastern Avenue, next door to the Museum of Idaho.

The renovation of the building, which was Sizzler long ago and most recently Cherz, started last summer and took longer than expected. Anytime the USDA is involved, there are a lot of boxes to be checked, said Justin Manwaring, the latest cheesemaker in a family whose history goes back to the middle of the last century.

Arthur Manwaring was born in Utah to a family that had emigrated from England in the 1800s. Eventually, he moved to Bingham County and had a dairy business. His children helped deliver milk on a horse-pulled dairy wagon, and his son Basil eventually found his way to a creamery in Blackfoot. While there, he met a butter wrapper named Edna who became his wife. At Utah State University he managed the school dairy, making ice cream, cheese, and butter, and after graduating he took a job with the Nelson-Ricks Creamery in Rexburg. Nelson-Ricks owned many small plants in the eastern Idaho, and when the one in Ashton became available, Basil bought it and started the first incarnation of Manwaring Cheese.

After operating in Ashton for 16 years, Basil Manwaring saw an advantage to building a new plant in Rigby. The Rigby plant produced its first batch of cheese on Feb. 3, 1971. Basil died in November 1972, and his widow and children kept the plant operating until it closed in the late 1980s.

In 2010, seeing a business opportunity for artisanal cheese, Basil Manwaring's son Blake opened a new location in Rigby. The milk came from a herd of Jersey cows owned by Dale and Doris Mortimer, who operate Daloris Dairy east of Rigby (and have an enthusiastic clientele thirsty for raw milk. Story from Progressive Dairyman, December 2016: Foundation of five: Idaho dairy farmer discovers niche market to sell raw milk on-farm to locals.) For the past two years, however, the mild has come from Paradise Grove A2 Dairy out of of Monteview, in West Jefferson County.

Help on the business end came from the Regional Development Alliance and an ISU student-led feasibility study coordinated by the Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

Blake Manwaring described his cheesemaking process to East Idaho News in 2015. Pasteurization kills all the bacteria in the milk by warming it up to 161 degrees and holding it for 20 seconds. A freeze dried culture imported from France is then added back to the Jersey milk, along with a substance that causes the milk to thicken similar to a yogurt texture.

The cheese curds are cut up and processed, then salted and formed into blocks. After the salt has soaked in, the curds are laid into cheese hoops and pressed together. Mild cheddar cheese is aged for at least 6 months. Their signature Stalver Long Horn Cheese is aged for 18.

Hours at the Idaho Falls store are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 208-313-8247 or email info@manwaringcheese.com.