If you have ever driven down Interstate 10 between Houston and San Antonio, you probably remember passing through Schulenburg. It is a small farming town populated mostly by descendents of Czech and German immigrants. Schulenburg, like most Texas towns is a friendly place where people meet to share stories and good food.
Familiar Czech recipes include kolaches, sausage rolls and many other pastries, which are rich in flavor because they use lots of milk, butter, and cheese. That is probably one reason that dairies are always popular in Czech communities. Schulenburg is no exception with several dairies in the area. About eight miles west of Schulenburg, nestled in the rolling hills south of Interstate 10, just past the Engle exit, you’ll find Stryk Jersey Farm.
STRYK JERSEY FARM
Stryk Jersey Farm was founded in the 1940′s by John Stryk, who ran the farm until 1980. John selected Jersey cows because they are hardy and very efficient. Jersey cows also produce milk that is high in protein.
After graduating from Texas A&M with a degree in Dairy Science, Robert Stryk, John’s youngest son, bought into the family business and began improving the dairy with a new milking parlor and full registration of the pure bred Jersey herd. In 1986, Bob married Darlene Pavlicek, who grew up on a dairy in Columbus. The 310 acre farm home to 60 Jersey cows and an additional 50 heifers.
Together, Bob and Darlene have built a reputation among dairymen all across the country for being friendly and helpful to others, as well as being good business people who are constantly looking for new ways to promote dairy products. Stryk cows have appeared in Blue Bell Ice Cream commercials on several occasions, and Bob and Darlene frequently work with 4-H and FFA groups at livestock shows and judging contests. Bob and Darlene are also both very active in the Texas Jersey Cattle Club and the American Jersey Cattle Association.
Bob and Darlene have won numerous awards including the 1987 Outstanding Young Jersey Dairyman Award, the 1989 Elite Production Award from the Central Ohio Breeders Association (COBA), 1989 Master Breeder from COBA, and 1994 Grand Champion Jersey Cow at the Houston Livestock Show. Their daughter, Bryn exhibited the Reserve Supreme Champion Dairy Scramble Heifer at the 2012 Houston Stock Show and was named Champion Junior Showman three years in a row. Stryk cows have also been chosen as Grand Champions at the San Antonio Livestock Show, Washington County Fair, Grimes County Fair, Colorado County Fair, and Fort Bend County Fair to name a few. The Stryks were also selected as one of the Fort Worth Star Telegram’s Outstanding Agricultural Operations.
STRYKLY TEXAS CHEESE
Several years ago, Bob began thinking about better ways to utilize his Jersey milk. After discussing the possibilities with producers all over the country, he decided that Texan’s shouldn’t rely on other states for the cheese they eat. We drink milk from Texas dairies and eat ice cream made in Texas, so we should also eat Texasproduced cheese.
Bob studied cheese production techniques and even helped start a cheese plant in Schulenburg, but he wanted to create a more diversified market for Texas dairy products. He visited several small cheese plants and studied how they marketed their products.
Some sold gift baskets with blocks of different cheeses, some used colored wax to seal the cheese, and a few even relied on the Internet to display their products. He also persuaded a friend who is a marketing consultant to write a business plan and develop marketing materials including a home page on the Internet at www.texascheese.com.
Bob began experimenting in his kitchen. He bought a 40 pound block of cheddar cheese, some wax and cookie cutters in various Texas and holiday shapes. He cut large shapes and small shapes of cheese then sealed them in red, blue and green wax. At Thanksgiving, Strykly Texas Cheese sent out its first sample box of Texas cheese shapes. Through word of mouth, Strykly Texas Cheese sold over 300 pounds of cheese by Christmas, primarily as gift baskets. Since then, the business has grown steadily through sales to hotels, florists and caterers who use the Texas shapes to liven up their special occasions.
Strykly Texas Cheese is now operating out of a 1500 square foot building at the Stryk’s Farm. The building, like our business is simple in design featuring a large room for cutting and waxing cheese, a walk-in cooler and a small office.
You can order Strykly Texas Cheese products from our World Wide Web site or by calling us directly.Strykly Texas Cheese, Ltd. 629 Krenek Stryk Rd. Schulenburg, Texas 78956 Phone (979) 561-8468