STONE CREEK — Yaggi Cheese no longer produces its own Swiss cheese. The family tradition continues, however, as a retail store that provides cheese and other items to the community. Yaggi’s has not produced Swiss Cheese at the facility since 1969.
Yaggi Cheese is nestled along a slope at 2229 Stonecreek Road, just five miles west of New Philadelphia, and was established in 1924 by Joseph Yaggi, who was a cheesemaker in Switzerland and Austria. Joseph Yaggi thought America provided a better opportunity for his art of cheesemaking. He was 19 when he came to America and he heard Tuscarawas County provided a great opportunity to produce Swiss cheese.
Yaggi worked in construction and then owned an auto agency and a bar before he and John F. Gerber built the cheese house in 1924. They only produced Swiss cheese.
Joseph Yaggi met his wife, Bertha, who was from New York, and they raised seven children.
The cheese house has always been at the same location. Dave Yaggi said his grandpa, Joseph, bought the cheese house after a fire at the site.
In the early days, cheese makers Rudi Graf, Ernie Amacher, Sr. and Joseph Yaggi made the cheese. Graf worked alongside Yaggi for over 50 years. Later Graf and Amacher worked with the late Bill Yaggi, who took over the business in 1962.
There are still two copper kettles on display in the sales room that were once used to manufacture the Swiss cheese.
Since 1997 the business has been owned and operated by Dave and Colleen "Coke" Yaggi. Coke Yaggi is the bookkeeper and answers the telephone for the business.
Although the manufacturing days are memories for the Yaggi’s, they still offer samples of the products they sell and maintain local distributors.
Over 30 kinds of cheese are offered for sale, but Swiss is still the customer’s favorite. Customers also like colby, marble and cheddar. The Swiss cheese is purchased from Steiner Cheese in Baltic and has been for many years.
Dave Yaggi said the business purchases as much local cheese as possible from Broad Run Cheese, Pearl Valley Cheese, Steiner Cheese, and Guggisberg Cheese. He said Swiss cheese is his favorite, but he eats some kind of cheese every day.
He also sells wholesale to stores, restaurants and other businesses that need cheese, along with offering cheese trays. Dave Yaggi delivers the orders on the wholesale route.
The current sales room was once the cheese factory and the adjacent building was the sales room. During a flood in 1969, the cheese factory and sales room were flooded to the point where cheese was floating in the cooler. With many volunteers, the buildings were cleaned and ready to make cheese the next day.
Also in the sales, room customers will find other products available such as Troyer’s Trail Bologna, local honey and salad dressings, Correll’s potato chips, free range brown eggs, krepples, hard salami, Kreb’s summer sausage, homemade beef sticks and beef jerky. Jams and jellies, pickled eggs and beets are on display. Customers can also purchase Giannio’s candy, which is produced in Strother’s, Ohio. There is also Zifer’s marinara and pizza sauce, Dinofo’s salad dressing and the former Bassetti’s Restaurant items and Winesburg summer sausage.
"Our orders during the holiday season are about 30 percent of our annual business during that time. We hire additional employees to customize gift boxes and pack them," Dave Yaggi said. "We have so many faithful customers that have patronized us for many years. We appreciate them."
Yaggi said he purchases 15 200-pound wheels of Swiss cheese that is cured the old-fashioned way. It is produced in June by Broad Run Cheese and placed in a warmer room. It is then brought to Yaggi’s and placed in a cooler. It is turned until the holes develop in about 30 to 45 days.
"The wheels of cheese are turned and washed every four days. It is a very intensive process. We cut those blocks of Swiss cheese around Thanksgiving and sometimes we sell out by the end of the year."
"We also contribute to many community events that need products," Yaggi said.