This is Heinz. Ever since I can remember he has been around with his loud voice (partially because he is a tad hard of hearing), funny jokes, and strong opinions. I was terribly shy as a child so I’m pretty sure I never said a word to him until I was in my teens. Nevertheless, we would always look forward to his visits and of course the German sausage he would bring with him!
Heinz is a German immigrant who made his living distributing European specialty products to his fellow countrymen. There was also a market driven by many WWII veterans who had spent time in Germany during the war and returned home with a taste for German food. Heinz was working in the county when he heard a local farmer (my grandfather) was starting to make cheese. He thought it would be a good business venture to convince said farmer to make Quark, a staple in his homeland which was nearly impossible to find in America. I have no idea how that first conversation went, but I would have loved to have been a fly on that wall! Knowing these two strong willed men with their equally strong accents would have been a sight to see!
Long story short, we began making Quark in the early ’80’s. Quark is a soft creamy cheese (I liken it to cream cheese or sour cream) and can be used in many ways. Most commonly as a garnish or, my favorite, to bake with! My Aunt is constantly making yummy baked goods with Quark and the cheese cake is to die for!
Some of my earliest memories of Quark include the assembly line when I would “help” my dad and Pake in the Cheese Room. However my relationship with this particular cheese mostly revolved around the “bailing” process. Imagine a large tank, full of a milky jello-like substance that could be squished between your fingers. This is the early stages of Quark! Once it was in a cheese cloth covered basket, it would sit overnight, press the weigh out of itself naturally, and then be packaged. My job, along with whoever I suckered into helping me, (often my cousin, Marlies), was to get the Quark from the tank into the baskets. With a little gallon sized bucket. Now that was a work out! I can’t even imagine how many reps it would take to lift all that quark and fill ALL the baskets…but I do know I got some pretty good biceps out of the deal! Who needs a gym when you have a cheese room!
Heinz is one of those characters you just never forget. We are so grateful he brought this product to the attention of a fledgling cheese factory. Without him we wouldn’t have Quark to help get the cheese business off the ground! We currently produce three different types of Quark. Traditional which is a full fat, Fat Free, and a Low fat for those who are wanting something in the middle. I’ve included a couple links to some my personal favorite ways to use Quark below, but the cheesecake pie is still the best!