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VIDEO: A chance for fresh cheese on Oahu

Naked Cow Dairy gives a tantalizing taste of what’s coming — as soon as it can afford the equipment

Posted March 12, 2012 by Mari Taketa

Saturday in Kakaako, I met a cow named Pickles and got to eat her cheese. How amazing is that? I haven’t eaten that close to the breathing source since I was 6 years old and met Lani Moo and ate her ice cream.

But the thrill of a cow occupying a Kakaako parking space aside, the real news point is the boldness of this step toward producing food we eat right here on these islands where we live. We don’t grow rice any more. We don’t raise commercial chickens any more. We’re even importing mangoes. We’ve lost our ability to feed ourselves.

And here’s Naked Cow Dairy, the one remaining dairy on Oahu, proposing to make the state’s first-ever commercial cow’s milk cheese. With $6,730 raised out of $15,000 it needs to build a cheese-aging room and buy a heating element for its 230-gallon vat, Naked Cow brought out the goods on Saturday for a public sneak peek at a pop-up cheese sampling.

Here’s what Pickles and her 19 herdmates produced:

  • Farmer’s cheese, firm, fresh and tangy
  • Gouda two ways: fresh and aged with local herbs and spices
  • Halloumi, studded with local mint and grilled
  • Labneh, a Middle Eastern yogurt cheese
  • Bleu rubbed with alae salt
  • Romano-style grating cheese
  • Big Cream Little Rind: a name made up by cheese maker Gida Snyder and my favorite

I showed up with my cooler bag, ready to support with some purchases, but nothing was for sale. All support was being directed toward the $15,000 Indiegogo goal. As of late Sunday, excitement from the pop-up sampling had pushed Naked Cow’s Indiegogo total to $9,095.

Go to this site if you want to bolster your chances of scoring locally made cheese. You can give anything from $10 to $5,000 — and you’ll get something in return, ranging from shoutouts on Twitter and Facebook to a Naked Cow T-shirt or hand-crafted cheeseboard to monthly cheese deliveries and a personal cheese-making lesson for you and your friends. Ninety dollars will get you a five-course cheese dinner, complete with beverage pairings, at Prima Kailua on April 8. Deadline for the equipment campaign, by the way, is March 20.

The cheese was very good. I’m dreaming of Big Cream Little Rind.

Here’s Melissa Chang’s video interview with Naked Cow’s chief cowgirl about the dairy’s fresh, made-to-order butters and where you can find them.

Naked Cow Dairy photos courtesy of Naked Cow


  1. turkfontaine
    Posted March 12, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    given that 3/4ths of the state’s population is concentrated on one island and most of that in one city and the biggest island is bigger than all the others combined; Hawaii could, if it wanted to, become completely self-sustaining, agriculturally. just get rid of the cars and boy, howdy.

  2. nonstopmari
    Posted March 12, 2012 at 7:48 pm

     @turkfontaine yup, simple as that :)

About Mari Taketa

Mari Taketa is a dedicated eater who's as opinionated as she is hungry. She covered everything from neighborhood mom-and-pop places to ethnic eateries to fine dining restaurants on Honolulu's dining scene for Metromix Honolulu and The Honolulu Advertiser's TGIF. Before that, she ate her way through Vietnam, Scotland and Japan, where she lived, traveled or worked, after recovering from a journalism career that included stints as editor-in-chief of Hawaii Business magazine and reporter and editor at The Associated Press. Her goals are to always be hungry for more, and to always want to know what's around the next corner.

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