by Michael Boyink / [email protected]
Adrian Buff was in a pickle.
So to speak.
At age 20, attending Missouri State University in West Plains, the Swiss-native’s visa was expiring.
“I could have applied for a student visa,” Adrian says. “But those expire after you graduate. Then I’d have to go back to Switzerland and start at the bottom.”
Adrian came to Ava with his family at age seven.
He wanted to come home to family with permanent residency.
He had to make a decision.
Out of necessity.
So he invented.
“I found six open cheesemaker apprenticeship positions in Switzerland,” he says. “I went over there for two weeks, looked at all of them, and chose the one that was the best fit.”
He spent one day a week in school. The rest of his time he learned to make cheese.
After completing the three-year program, Buff earned what roughly translates to a “Swiss National Skills Proficiency Certificate.”
Coming back home to the family dairy farm in Ava, Adrian invented again.
A brand this time.
Grison Dairy & Creamery. Makers of an Ozark Mutshli and Grisontaler cheese.
It took some help.
While the family’s dairy farm provided the necessary milk, it doesn’t have a creamery facility.
“I met Leslie Million of Terrel Creek Farms in Fordland at an American Cheese conference in Iowa,” Buff says. “I stopped by her farm, and she asked if I would be interested in renting her creamery part time.”
He had the milk. And the creamery. The brand.
Now for the product.
“I wanted something Swiss,” Adrian says. “Most Swiss creameries will make a Mutshchli, so I make an Ozark Mutshchli.” Buff also produces “Grisontaler”, more of a traditional Swiss cheese made with raw milk.
Both cheese are aged and have an Alpine-washed rind.
Now came the hard part.
“The thing that scared me the most was sales,” Adrian says. “I’m a dairy farmer and cheesemaker at heart. Getting people to try the product is hard, but you gotta do it.”
And sales are picking up.
“I’m selling at the Brown Derby and Mama Jean’s on Republic Road in Springfield, Richards Brothers Grocery in West Plains, the Little Farm Store in Mansfield, and Ava Beverage in Ava,” Adrian says. “I’ve also been to both the West Plains and Ava Farmer’s markets.
Any more inventions coming?
“To expand I’d have to build my own creamery,” says Adrian. “So for now I’m just trying to increase sales of what I’m already making.”
Learn more about Grison Dairy & Creamery at facebook.com/pg/grisondairy.