It won’t work. That was the conventional wisdom about making Swiss cheese in Cache Valley. Edwin Gossner, Sr. was a cheesemaker, and driving the family through the Logan area on the way to Yellowstone for a family vacation, he was struck by how much the landscape of Cache Valley reminded him of Switzerland. “I was born in Wisconsin and our family moved to California for a time where my dad worked for the Rumiano Cheese Company,” recalls CEO and President, Dolores Gossner Wheeler, Gossner’s daughter. “Locals told him Swiss cheese could not be made in the area because of the silage the cows ate.” Allegedly, the silage, a fermented and high-moisture cow feed, would affect the way Swiss cheese developed holes, commonly called “eyes.” Undeterred, Gossner Sr. felt he could make a go of it and formed a local co-op with Cache Valley farmers called Cache Valley Dairy.
Unfortunately, just three years into his contract, he was fired from the co-op after helping establish the company as the largest Swiss cheese plant in the world. So one year later, in 1966, Edwin took the advice of his wife Josephine and started Gossner Foods using just the milk from his family’s dairy farm. The business grew exponentially after Edwin brought back a shelf-stable milk process from a trip to Canada in 1982. “He knew this shelf-stable milk would be a way to the build the company and provide better prices for dairy farmers,” she says. From then on, Gossner Foods specialized in both cheese and milk, going on to open another production facility in Heyburn, Idaho in 2005.
Between the two facilities, Gossner Foods produces 20 percent of all Swiss cheese in the United States as well as varieties of Swiss and muenster and their famous “squeaky” cheese curds. Though the business has exploded and now employs thousands, Wheeler still sees Gossner Foods as a family business with members of her extended family working in everything from sales to sitting on the board of directors. Wheeler says, “It is a true family-owned business.”
You’d be hard-pressed to find the Gossner Foods brand in your supermarket, the cheese is mostly sold wholesale to restaurants and private brands. Their on-site store in Logan is your best bet for many varieties of fresh cheeses, cheese spreads, flavored shelf-stable milks and even house-made ice cream. Gossner Foods is proud to support local stores, restaurants, schools and county fairs. “It is a blessing to give back to the communities that give us so much.” gossner.com
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