Nearly 50 Years of Finnish Cheese History
Juustoportti is a family business that will soon celebrate its 50th anniversary. Its history began with a black Friesian heifer called Isabella. It was the first cow of its breed in South Ostrobothnia and bought to the Keski-Kasari farm in Jalasjärvi in 1966. Isabelle produced considerably larger amounts of milk that the local dairy farmers were used to. Further, the quality of its milk was better suited for cheese-making. Isabelle’s story is part of Juustoportti’s history – that’s where it all started.
In fifty years, Juustoportti has grown from a small cheese farm to an enterprise with about 200 employees. In addition to dairy and cheese-making, Juustoportti has café-restaurants in Jalasjärvi, Mäntsälä and Kärsämäki as well as the food production company Kasvis Galleria in Kuopio.
Know-How and Top Expertise
The vast majority of Juustoportti’s dairy products are made in its own dairy close to downtown Jalasjärvi. Its production technology is one of the most modern in Finland. The cornerstones of the production rest on continuous and goal-oriented product development, high-quality products and skilled staff. Juustoportti is not afraid of making bold investments.
Special cheeses are made in the exhibition creamery in connection with the café-restaurant in Jalasjärvi, which allows the customers to see cheese-making in a genuine setting.
Renowned for its Products
Juustoportti is renowned especially for its leipäjuusto, Finnish bread-cheese, but also for a variety of other delicious products. The dairy packs milks and sour milks for local consumption. A traditional butter churn is used for making butter. Several other delicacies are produced under the same roof – AB yoghurts, cream cheeses, salad cheeses, mozzarellas and cultured milk products: sour creams, quarks, smetanas and crème fraîches. Juustoportti has been in business for decades and its products have been people’s favourites from year to year. The wide range of Juustoportti’s production tells about active product development; it has close to one hundred brands of its own and it is the contract manufacturer of nearly the same amount of brands for its clients.
Cheese and Wine
Juustoportti produces 100% Finnish special cheeses. They are made of goat and cow milk, also in ecological versions. Cheese-making is a process that takes months; indeed, some cheeses ripen for over a year. The maturity of the flavour depends on the length of the ageing period, among other things. Cheese is ripened in cellars where the humidity and other circumstances are strictly controlled. During this ageing the different cheeses obtain their most important characteristic, their aroma. Each cheese is treated individually; turned, dried and brushed. Towards the end of the ageing period, the cheesemaster samples each batch and gives his or her approval for the cheeses to be sent out in the world.
Juustoportti has special cheeses for every palate, from mild to strong. Viinitarhurin juusto (Vinedresser’s cheese) is one of the finest with plenty of aroma. During its ripening, it is brushed with wine and the cheesemaster’s herbal mix at least three times a week. Viinitarhurin juusto can be compared with the best vintage wines as during its ageing that takes nearly a year the flavour truly matures. Viinitarhurin juusto is the definitely the king among the cheese tray delicacies.
Awards to Juustoportti
Juustoportti has obtained many recognitions over the years. It has been awarded as a good employer, for instance, and praised as a pioneer who crosses the boundaries of traditional dairies. Several products in many product groups have won the prize of Finland’s Best in a national cheese competition. Juustoportti already has about a dozen different prizes.
Juustoportti in Figures
In its production, Juustoportti consumes about 40 million litres of milk a year, whereof about three million litres is ecological milk and about two million litres goat milk.
The enterprise has a staff of about 200 employees, and in the summer months about one hundred more. The turnover is about 50 million euros.