Park City Creamery is officially the “big cheese” of Wasatch Back.
Owner, founder and turophile Corinne Zinn, who has been making handmade artisan cheeses since 2018, was honored with the Small Business of the Year award Monday by the Salt Lake Region Small Business Development Center at a ‘an awards ceremony at Creamery Headquarters, 1200 W. Lori Lane, Unit A-3, Heber.
The award was given because of Zinn’s dedication to his craft in making European-style cheese from the milk of cows and goats that live in the high-altitude region of Midway, said Jim Herrin, director of the Salt Lake Region Small Business Development Center, which provides free one-on-one management advice and other assistance to small businesses.
The SLSBDCenter is hosted and partially funded by Salt Lake Community College and is part of the Utah Small Business Development Center Network, according to Herrin.
“We are a program of the US Small Business Administration and funded by the State of Utah and the colleges and universities that house our 14 centers,” he said. “That’s why we offer our services for free.”
Herrin has worked with Zinn since the beginning and has seen her efforts to ensure the success of her business.
“She handled it well and it still has a lot of potential,” he said.
Zinn is honored and surprised by the award because Park City Creamery was one of more than 500 local small businesses in the running.
“It was amazing, and I’m proud and excited for me and my team,” she said.
Although Zinn founded Park City Creamery in 2018, she has been making her own cheese for nearly 20 years.
“I’m from Europe and I missed my favorite cheeses when I moved to the States,” she said. “I was organizing wine and cheese pairings in Belgium, and you can find cheese shops on every corner of every street in Belgium, especially in Brussels.”
Some of the pairings presented by Zinn included cheeses and wines from Spain, Italy and France before moving to Colorado via Connecticut.
“I was always looking for good cheeses and couldn’t find the variety of what I had in Europe,” she said. “There were a lot of vineyards in Colorado, so there were good local wines but no one was making cheese. So that’s where I started.
After training in cheesemaking in France and Germany, Zinn began making his own cheese from goats that lived on his farm in Colorado.
“My cheese was distributed to restaurants in Aspen, Crested Butte and some ski resorts,” she said.
When Zinn moved to Utah, she worked as a cheesemaker in Deer Valley and started a cheese consulting company.
“Deer Valley was fun because it was skiing in the morning and making cheese in the afternoon,” she laughed.
As a cheese consultant, Zinn wanted to help local farmers create different local cheeses.
“I thought maybe they would be interested in making more European-style cheese,” she said.
Zinn left Deer Valley in 2017 and officially started Park City Creamery with the idea of making cheeses that relied on the local territory – the natural environment such as soil, topography and climate.
“You have these beautiful Wasatch Mountains and our own biodiversity in grass and flora that cows and goats eat,” she said.
The cows and goats that provide the milk for Zinn’s cheeses live on the farm in the Heber Valley, 20 minutes from the creamery.
“What’s very special about the farm is that the cows are in the field, and crossing the field is a hot spring,” Zinn said. “So the cows eat the grass that is fed by the spring, and they also drink this mineral rich water.”
Additionally, Zinn uses mountain air in its aging cages.
“The air that is pumped into our cages is unique because we are at high altitude,” she said. “It makes a difference in the curing or refining process.”
Zinn creates her own cheese recipes.
“Since being trained in France and Germany, I knew exactly what I was looking for,” she said. “I focused on my own tastes because I won’t make a cheese that I don’t like and I keep in mind what my customers might like.
Park City Creamery cheeses are available at the Creamery, but can also be found in Park City at Park City Market and Copper Moose Farm; Lee’s Market, Heber Valley Farm in Heber; Caputo’s, Harmon’s, and Liberty Market in Salt Lake City, plus local restaurants statewide.
“We’re also at the Park City Farmer’s Market every Wednesday in Canyons,” she said.
Over the years, Zinn’s products have won several Utah Cheese Awards and Best of the West Cheese Awards.
“The cheese we make is authentic, handmade artisan cheese, and the biggest rewards are from our customers and the chefs at high-end restaurants who have given us their endorsement and have used our cheese for years,” said she declared.
Some Park City Creamery fans discovered Zinn’s cheeses at various fundraisers for local nonprofits.
“We made boxes of cheese for their auctions,” she said. “It’s a great way to support local organizations and get our name out there.
Park City Creamery’s hours are generally 9:30am to 6pm, but since the business is still quite small, it’s best for customers to call before visiting.
“Sometimes restaurants call us for cheese emergencies, and we always make our own deliveries,” Zinn said. “So people should call to make sure we’re there.”