SURVIVOR ON HÅOYA NATURVERKSTED
One shepherd, one cheese monger, one cheese scientist, and 90 free-range goats, move to a near-deserted island off of Oslo in an attempt to make the best cheese in Norway. Sounds like my type of survivor!
1. They don’t know each other
2. Only one summer to make the best cheese in Norway
3. Oh, and the goats have never been milked before…
Will they do it?
Helge , Yngve, and Lise, moved to Håøya to see if they could use their individual expertise and skills to bring the magic back to the island. Håøya is an near-abandoned island one hour south of Oslo that is being resurrected by 90 peevish personalities.......
Meet Helge. A farmer turned goat shepherd. He relocated his goats to Håøya 3 years ago as part of a “goat scaping" project to tame the wild growth of the island. Never in your life have you seen a man with such a sway over goats. Sleeping time? Relocation time? No problem! With a mere swift stroke of a shepherd's crook, a booming deep call, and a smile, he can lure a goat to any demand desired. But nagging on goat utters is a different story…could he persuade them to be touched by humans and even milked?
Meet Yngve. Yngve dedicated the past decade of this life to cheese and the culinary arts. For the first seven years he worked as a chef. For the past three years he lived in France working for Banon A.O.C Cheese. There he learned how to make cheese from, what he considers, the best cheese producers in Europe (before Håøya). Through countless hours working with and tasting cheese, Yngve understands the importance of quality milk, a quality maker, and most importantly how a cheese should taste. Returning to Norway, he wanted to use the French method with Norwegian goats, to teach his people how local cheese could be made. But first he had to find the goats!
Meet Lise. When Lise aka Little Eagle was younger and traveling with a circus, she was given the following advice:
“Instead of complaining about what should go on, do something about it and create the place you want to live in.”
From then on, Lise has taken a different approach to life. After graduating with a masters degree in goat cheese agriculture and working for Norwegian Farmers and Smallholders Union, Lise wanted to take that mentality to greater heights by creating her own signature cheese.
Meet The Goats:
12 years ago, Helge bought 10 cashmere goats from New Zealand and then 14 more from the Agriculture University in Oslo. He then bred the goats for generations and only kept the fun, friendly, and non-aggressive goats. Helge now heads 90 goats that have never been socialized...not to mention milked. “When the goats are raised they are raised in a way to not have direct human interaction,” says Helge. This has helped Helge avoid the horror stories of goats that eat boat sails (yes it happened on a neighboring island), goats that nudge and nibble at humans, and goats that just plain-old don't listen!
Yngve called Helge after hearing about the goatscaping he had been doing on Håøya and they started formulating a dream: “We want to live on the island to make the best cheese in Norway and sell it to the best restaurants.”
They decided to go to the farmer union to pitch their plan. Lise was at the meeting and was ready to be inspired. After the farmer union meeting the newly acquainted tre vennene (“three amigos in Norwegian”) chatted for hours and the business plan was set. “If we are going to do this, we are going to do this right,” they agreed. We are going to the island full time and we are going to use our individual knowledge, hard-work, and hours of dedication to make the best goat cheese, BUT FIRST we should test the three basics before we make a 180 degree lifestyle change:
1. Can we milk the goats? Helge figure it out!
2. How is the quality of the milk aka can we make the cheese? That’s all you Lise!
3. Can we perfect the taste and sell the cheese? You’re on it Yngve!
Guests are repeatedly astonished when they hear each and every detail of the story. The tre vennene complete everything to perfection; from milking the goats and making the cheese, to presenting the cheese with their charcoal-powdered logo. So cool!!
Once the checklist was complete, the three moved to Håøya to start Håøya Naturverksted.
5,000+ hours later:
Not only has the cheese has been made, perfected and well documented to create a consistent product, but it is in high demand among the top chefs in Oslo. They have also successfully revamped the island, giving it a name, and making it an attraction for families and local communities in the nearby city of Oslo.
“Now visitors come to this once abandoned island, walk upon the goatscaped pathway that leads across the island to the barn where they eat world-class cheese.”
Because of their newfound popularity among the Oslo foodie community, Håøya Naturverksted has had to limit the amount of cheese that restaurants can purchase in order to be able to provide cheese to their important island-visiting customers. Håøya Naturverksted would make more cheese but they are at goat capacity, utilizing all of the milk that the goats produce. Not allowing a drop of milk to go to waste, they even use the residual whey liquid to make daily loaves of hearty bread. These people are passionate and resourceful! Electricity? Not necessary; they use a single solar panel to charge their iPhones for communication.
Helge, Yngve, and Lise express their love in their project through meals together and constant communication. Each of the three help out and have dedicated their summer in an integral, extraordinary way. They have put the island and the cheese ahead of themselves and those closest to them. They hope to inspire others to start their own projects combining talent and experience in a creative way. The tre vennene have gone above and beyond all goals they set for themselves. You can taste the love, sweat, and dedication that they put into their products.
Håøya is always looking for people to come join as volunteers. As they put it "there is no better way to start than by going 100% and doing." What’s the worst that happens? You live on a beautiful island, make world renown goat cheese, give back to the community, and learn more about yourself in 3 months than you could have in 30 years! The Recipe Hunters were lucky enough to have the opportunity to volunteer on the island, chopping wood, milking goats, and learning how to make the geitost goat cheese recipe!