Nelson said that when she was at the University as an undergraduate, her professor told her about the caves.
The only trace that remains of the old ways is the nickname she has given the refrigerators that are used to house the bleu cheese while it ferments.
To the groups of school children that tour the Pilot Plant, the room is the "stinky room," because of the brine solution that makes some of the cheese.
The milk comes in from the dairy barn the day before the process. Products are made once or twice a month between classes and outreach.
Outside companies can rent the space to test out products, which is often more convenient than using their own facilities because they can make smaller batches and do not have to stop production on their own machines.
Products in the store vary. Ice cream flavors change depending on the season. Some specialty cheeses are made when visiting companies have excess milk, and yogurt is sometimes available from classes.
The cheeses tend to be more artisan than production. Made from hand, cheeses are held anywhere from 90 days to longer than a year — aged cheddar is held for more than 9 months.
When the products are finished, they are stored in "Cave 2," a locked refrigerator filled will all varieties of cheese. Students, typically within the food science and nutrition department, help run the store and keep it stocked.
Elisabeth Taraldsen and Amanda Bot have worked at the store and in the Pilot Plant for one and two years, respectively.
They help make the products, clean and answer customer questions.
Bot said she also considers herself a promoter.
"I like to come up with new flavors, but our supervisors don't usually take them too seriously," Bot said.
She has been hoping for a s'mores ice cream, while Taraldsen has proposed carrot cake.
Information from: The Minnesota Daily, http://www.mndaily.com/
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.