updated 12/11/2007 11:47:35 PM ET 2007-12-12T04:47:35

A home built above a large cave that once housed a sophisticated underground marijuana operation may have a delicious — and legal — future.

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Authorities seized the home in 2005 after finding more than 850 marijuana plants growing under lights in two secured, 100-yard-long underground rooms connected to the home.

“Everything was just perfect. Look at the craftsmanship,” auctioneer Pete Scruggs said of the marijuana operation in the natural cave about 45 miles northeast of Nashville.

Roth Kase USA Ltd., a Wisconsin-based maker of European-style cheeses, won a court-ordered auction of the property Saturday with a bid of $285,000. The company’s auction representative, Chuck Olson, hinted about the future of the cave after he was named the winner.

He said the plan is to “make money,” and the cave’s new operation will be legal “in a tasty way.” Caves, with their consistent cool temperatures and humidity, have long been used to age cheeses.

Fred Strunk, the previous owner of the home, was sentenced to 18 years in prison last year on charges of growing marijuana, money laundering and theft.

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