Cheese maker taking unique approach to answering high demand for his cheese

Kent Walker

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - A growing centralArkansas business is taking a unique approach to a growing demand for theirproduct.{} Artisan cheese maker, KentWalker, is taking on volunteers to help fabricate the young company's fromage -and there's already a waiting list to help out.

Making cheese isn't easy, especiallywhen there's only one person doing it.{}Kent Walker of Kent Walker Artisan Cheese says he's stretched thintrying to sell his product and keep up with demand at the same time.

"We're in probably about 50restaurants and probably 20 retail places," said Walker.

It's a "gouda" start for the two and a half year-old business currently basedout of a small room in a Little Rock warehouse.{}Walker ended up hiring his friend Randy to help out with cheese making,but some things require the help of more than just two.

"The actual act of cheese making, theday one, the production before it goes into the aging room, there are a few keypoints during the day - namely getting curds out of the vat and into the moldsthat's very labor intensive," said Walker.{}

Those labor intensive moments are thereason for Walker creating his volunteer program.{}

Walker said even though moving curdsinto molds requires a lot of work, it's only for a short period of time.{} So Walker only brings volunteers on duringthe times he actually needs them.

Interested cheeseheads can sign up tovolunteer through the company's website.{}They're placed on a mailing list to receive an e-mail blast requestingthe service of volunteers when it's needed. {}Walker said he's already seen interest from about 120 people.

The best part about volunteering - thepay - it's cheese compensation.

"One of [the volunteers] stayed allday," said Walker.{} "So he went home withquite a bit."

There's no set amount of cheesevolunteers walk home with, but Walker said generally workers make out with atleast a quarter pound of cheese.{} Justlike an internship, employment isn't guaranteed from volunteering withWalker.{} But Walker says it might not bea bad idea to learn the trade.

"The goal is to be absolutely aregional presence and even one day a national presence," said Walker.

Walker is already talkingexpansion.{} Come April he'll be openinghis own retail outlet on Main Street in downtown Little Rock.