A hunk of Edelweiss Creamery's Ementhaler Swiss awaits consumption.
"I'm a chef," he said. "I've just got big pots."
Pots big enough to turn out 200-pound wheels of cheese, which end up yielding the beatiful slabs of Emmenthaler Swiss he sells from a tidy stand. This season marks Workman's first time selling at a farmers market of any kind and, if he can judge from just one week, he's pleased with the Westside Market, located in the parking lot of the Hill Farms State Office Building on University Ave., just west of Hilldale Shopping Center.
"Traffic has been steady," he said. "And the weather is great. I'm usually stuck in a building all day."
He sees his role at the market as not just a vendor, but also a teacher and marketer of artisan cheeses, explaining the painstaking process that goes into producing his Ementhaler, which he washes by hand throughout a 60-day process. Edelweiss is the only producer of Ementhaler in the U.S. and Workman's product has earned him some attention from the Discovery Channel.
"Cheese is cheese," he said. "But if you educate people, it can become much more. Cheese can be for breakfast or dessert. We have a lot of work in front of us in the United States in order to catch up to Europe in cheese consumption."
Workman suggests shaving just a hair off the Ementhaler, only about a sixteenth of an inch, and then grating the dark rind into soup or on salads. The rest is wonderful in slices, which is how I enjoyed it with a cold beer after finishing up some yard work on Saturday afternoon.