LONGMONT, Colo. – Some people are passionate about craft beer. Others geek out about the mountains. Jackie Chang’s love, however, is cheese.
Chang, the head cheesemaker at Haystack Mountain Creamery in Longmont, discovered her lifelong love affair with the dairy product when her uncle brought single Kraft cheese from the U.S. during one of his trips.
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A native of Taiwan, Chang, who came to the U.S. at the age of 18 and worked in the restaurant industry, left that job to work at a goat farm, where she learned about cheesemaking.
“Those cheeses are all my children,” Chang said, chuckling, as she described what cheesemaking means to her.
And she’s no simple cheesemaker either. Chang has won the Super Gold award for her Gold Hill cheese at the 2017-18 World Cheese Awards in London. She’s also won “Best Cheese in America” at the same award show in 2017.
Still, Chang says, making cheese is easy – it’s after you’ve made it where the challenge begins.
“Every day you have to go there (to the aging room) to give them some touch, give them some love and observe them… are they aged the way they’re supposed to be?”
An inspiration for anyone trying to find purpose in their work, Chang’s discovery of cheese led her to a life unlike anything she would have ever imagined.
“Ever since I started making cheese, I know myself more and more. I fulfilled my life and I’m happy. That’s why I’ve worked here for almost 17 years now.”