“Retirement, to us, proved to be the beginning of a new adventure, albeit a cheesy one.”
Dean Lategan, main cheese at Latana Cheese.
When Dean and Petra Lategan retired in 2011, they moved to the dairy farm where Dean grew up in the heart of the Klein Karoo to start their cheese journey. It was supposed to be a small venture, starting off with a 3x4m factory built from materials leftover from the renovation of their old farm house. The dream was to make special cheese with quality ingredients in the most organic way possible to share with friends and family.
One year later, they produced their first cheese, Latana Boerenkaas, and the dream kicked off in high gear. It soon became evident that they needed help as the product available could not keep up with the demand of this beautiful, natural and chemical free Jersey milk cheese. They not only found a vibrant, happy and spontaneous 20-year old girl, Ashley-Ann (who at that time was helping Petra in their home), but they found an ambitious and enthusiastic businesswoman in the making who shared their passion for cheese and cheese making.
Weekends were spent at markets selling cheese until a young man changed their lives in an instant when he convinced them to enter their cheese into the World Jersey Cheese Championships (after only two years in the cheese game). The gamble paid off and they won two silver medals and three bronze medals, and haven’t looked back since.
Ashley-Ann is now a fully-fledged cheese maker and as keen as ever. She is even training a protégé, Lizzy Fortuin (a former cleaner at the farm) to become a cheese maker. Dean and Petra’s retirement hobby has become more than an adventure; it has become a thriving reality – an aromatic, exciting, and vibrant reality that most only dream of. The hope now is to invite people in and to let them experience life on the (very delicious) cheesy side!