Team Redhead Creamery
Jerry and Linda: The Jennissens started farming together in 1979, after meeting as kids during a calf show. Renting a farm nearby, one crisp winter day they cross-country skied to an abandoned farmsite with a beautiful pond but much to be desired in terms of facilities for both humans and bovines, with no running water and only two outbuildings. They later bought this farm hoping to one day be able to produce their own product at Jer-Lindy Farms. After over 30 years breeding Registered Holstein and later Brown Swiss cattle specifically for protein and fat to create the most efficient cheese-producing cow herd they could, they joined the Sjostroms in Redhead Creamery.
The couple had four redheaded daughters, the third being Alise, president of Redhead Creamery. The pair work on and manage the day-to-day farm operations but Linda also serves as co-cheesemaker with Alise. Both have previously worked off the farm in roles with agricultural companies, and held leadership positions within the dairy industry. Jer-Lindy Farms was named Stearns County Farm Family of the Year by University of Minnesota Extension in 2001 and Minnesota Milk Producers Association Dairy Producers of the Year in 2002.
Alise and Lucas: Alise and Lucas met during Minnesota Junior Holstein Association’s annual convention as kids, and eventually fell in love at the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities, both majoring in agriculture; Alise in Agricultural Industries and Marketing with a Dairy Food Quality emphasis, and Lucas in Animal Science focusing on the industry and communications.
Alise fell in love with the idea of farmstead cheese at age 16 while on a 4-H youth trip in Wisconsin. Visiting Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, she came home to tell her parents that she wanted to return home, but did not want to milk cows. Since that day, she’s worked to become a great cheesemaker, with employment opportunities through Acosta Sales and Marketing, Grafton Village Cheese, Crave Brothers, and Stickney Hill Dairy. Alise’s birthday is in December, and in 2010 he gave Alise the complete training seminar available in basic cheesemaking through the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese (since closed), where Alise slept in a kind Burlington, Vermont, resident’s spare room during the entire two-week training. Alise serves as president and CEO of the Creamery.
Lucas grew up on his family’s Holstein and diversified crop farm in southern Minnesota. After college, he took Alise to Vermont and Wisconsin (luckily two of the U.S. artisan cheese industry’s hotbeds) with jobs working for Holstein Association USA and Hoard’s Dairyman magazine. In November 2012, the couple moved home with their one-month old daughter, Lucy, and Lucas started graduate school for a master’s degree at the University of Minnesota’s West Central Research and Outreach Center, studying precision dairy technology in a grazing environment with both conventional and organic dairy herds. In May 2014, he began as assistant editor at Dairy Herd Management magazine, where he focuses on content for both the print and digital editions. Lucas helps with accounting and sales for the Creamery and Farm between his other full-time duties.