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|Fermo Jaeckle, CEO of award-winning Wisconsin cheese-maker Roth Käse, has purchased a 6,000-square-foot underground cave in Dixon Springs, Tennessee that was the center of a marijuana-growing operation. The cave was purchased in a state auction in December for $250,000. It was bought not by the cheese company, but privately by Jaeckle and other investors. The new owners plan to turn the subterranean cave into a cheese aging and curing facility and an agritourism destination. Located about 40 miles northeast of Nashville, the cave made national headlines in 2005 after a Drug Enforcement Task Force busted an elaborate cannabis-growing operation there. Besides a massive cannabis growing room, parts of which are 20 feet high, the cave was also outfitted with a ventilation system, elaborate lighting, offices, a kitchen, bedrooms, restrooms and an escape hatch. However interesting that sounds, Roth Käse’s headquarters in southern Wisconsin were built to resemble a Swiss chalet (after the country’s Swiss heritage) with some of the most impressive high-tech equipment you can imagine.||
Roth Käse’s GranQueso, a versatile Manchego-style cheese, has won many awards, including a First Place Award at the 2004 American Cheese Society Competition and a Gold Medal at the 2005 World Cheese Awards in London.
|The cave’s natural, consistent temperature, which ranges from from 57° to 59° Fahrenheit year round, is perfect for aging cheeses. Because the cave is on a steep grade and not on a city sewer line, it is not ideally situated for cheese-making. Instead, the owners will partner with local producers to age and cure their cheeses. The owners intend to form a partnership with Roth Käse to distribute products processed at the property.|