Milking the Teat

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1196184977We here at Boston Daily love cheese in its many wonderful forms. Whether it’s a nice melted mozzarella in a panini or a sharp cheddar on a slice of apple, we appreciate the dedicated souls who produce the dairy product we most love to consume. But now that the Globe has informed us that our cheese is made by people who are going through a midlife crisis have a newfound love of nature, we’re a little uncomfortable.

Yes, a number of professionals who’ve made their fortune are trading their suits for L.L. Bean sweaters and making cheese.

At the age of 48, Bob Works came to an enviable life junction. The real estate investment firm where he was partner went public, and his payout was sizable. He could have stayed with the firm, managing properties such as One Winthrop Square and State Street Bank building in Boston, or not worked another day of his life.

Instead, he and his wife apprenticed at a cheese-making farm. . . .

“We didn’t want a dissipated life of playing golf and drinking too much,” Works said. “We wanted real careers. We wanted to reinvent ourselves.”

Sure, it sounds great. You get a big chunk of land, buy some cows, and sell your wares to the same high-end shops you loved when you lived in the city. But these corporate go-getters are simply transferring the behaviors they developed during their first careers to a new one.

New recruits often bring an intensity to cheese-making, eager to find the kind of success they had in their first careers.

“We want to make world-class cheese,” said Angela Miller, who along with her husband, Russell Glover, bought a 300-acre farm in West Pawlet, Vt., in 2000. . . .

“I knew I wanted to do it so badly,” Miller said. “It was something where nobody could have stopped me.”

Way to break the formaggio ceiling, Ms. Miller. But you need to calm down before you upset the cows. Aside from pointing out that producing cheese is a stinky process, we can’t really think of a reason to discourage someone from going into the cheese business.

But the Globe provides one. Starting a cheese farm takes a stunning amount of money.

Stetson’s cheese-making farm, for example, cost $350,000, and an additional $150,000 to expand the facility. For Stetson, the investment required most of his life’s savings, including money from the sale of his partnership.

Somewhere, the Stetson’s kids are pissed their parents blew their inheritance on a farm.

We’re all for following your bliss and all that new-agey crap, but we can’t understand the allure of becoming a cheese farmer. The only reason we invest anything in our 401(k) is because we hope to miraculously have enough money to spend our golden years drunk and sunburned on a tropical island somewhere. Why anyone would trade that for a pseudo-retirement that involves shoveling excrement and dealing with cheese curds?

Source URL: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/2007/11/27/milking-the-teat/