Deep under Springfield, Missouri, lies a cheese cave of industrial proportions, a 2-million-square-foot refrigerated warehouse called Springfield Underground. Since 2008, Kraft Foods has rented 400,000 square feet of the repurposed limestone mine as a massive distribution center, from which to ship 680-pound, Velveeta-bright barrels of Oscar Meyer meats, Philadelphia cream cheese, Velveeta pasteurized processed cheeses, Jell-O, and Lunchables.
Unlike traditional cheese caves, which can impart the particular flavors of time and place—the unique combinations of bacteria, yeast, and mold that cheese makers call terroir—Wired magazine explains that in the case of Kraft's cave:
It’s not about aging, it’s about cheap storage: Moving refrigeration underground saves massive amounts of energy, since the temperature 100 feet down is a constant 58 degrees Fahrenheit. An above-ground pump sends 13,000 gallons of chilled brine through the system every day, keeping the warehouse at a cool 36 degrees.