Same Cheese, New Heights: Slinging Cheese in Aspen

Murray’s owner Rob Kaufelt catches up with longtime friend Dana Cowin

By: Rob Kaufelt, Proprietor of Murray’s Cheese

When I graduated college way back in ’69, I climbed into my old Pontiac GTO and with my pals Dave and Gary headed west. When we got to Aspen, Colorado, the rednecks there said, in so many words, ‘There’s the road, son, you’re already on it, no need to stop here.’ This was their way of telling long-haired hippie freaks like us they didn’t want our kind around.

Flash forward forty-four years to the summer of 2013, when Murray’s crew Amanda Parker, Nick Tranchina, and I cruised into town in our rental car to meet Paige Yim (our Marketing Manager) and do Murray’s booth at the Aspen Food and Wine Classic. Not too many rednecks around that town anymore, not in a town where a twenty-million-dollar ski house is nothing special. Nor is a skinny woman with blond hair and Botox. But Mario [Batali] and the boys were there doing their celebrity chef thing, and so were we with our selections of the country’s best cheese, fresh from Brian’s caves.

“I could get used to this”

We have sixteen stores in Colorado now, and we visited most of them. What a rush to visit a store up in the mountains and see a sign on the outside of the building that reads ‘Murray’s, and inside, a beautiful shop with some of the nicest folks you’re ever gonna meet sampling cheese you never figured would get up into those hills. Times are indeed changing. So, if you’re ever going to go through these mountains, prepare a little and stay awhile for a beautiful Colorado vacation.

It was a smokin’ hot 99 degrees, and it was smokin’, period, as Colorado springs were literally on fire. Speaking of smokin’, you know that Colorado has legal weed, giving new meaning to the terms grass-fed and pot belly. In fact, hog farmers out there are indeed feeding their pig’s stems, leaves, and other leftover scraps the growers don’t need. The idea is that stoned pigs go easy to slaughter. Next, they’ll show that it cuts cholesterol and, capitalism being what it is, they’re bound to find some new uses for horrible piggy poop next.

All in all, a fun week in this old cheesemonger’s career!