Allan and I started the Marfa Maid Dairy with the goal to make the finest artisan goat cheese in West Texas. To our great delight, that’s what we have done. We have been overwhelmed by the response to our cheese. Repeatedly we have been told “This is the best goat cheese I have ever tasted!”
Marfa, Texas is a unique place that draws visitors from all over the world to visit the great modern art museum, the Chinati Foundation, art galleries and enjoy the magnificent landscape of the Big Bend Region.
In the last two years we designed and built beautiful dairy building and kitchen. It is ideal for our project and programs. We knew that we would not be able to purchase all the equipment we needed at first, but could start the business with what we have. In our second year, with our product being quickly accepted, Marfa Maid Dairy desparately needs a large commercial pasteurizer and a milking machine At this point we have done almost all the milking and cheese making manually.
This is very hard work and is hampering us from increasing our production and satisfying the increasing appetite for our cheese. With your support we can move quickly to another level of production leaving us more time to do the community outreach. Our programs include cheese making classes, school tours, demonstrations for the 4-H kids . Our most important program will be to develop an intern program to bring people from all over to live on our property, learn to work with the goats and help us make fine artisan cheese.
Risks and challenges
This is West Texas. It is an amazing environment with stunning natural beauty, a rich western history, cutting edge contemporary art /music and the nicest people in the world. Our greatest challenge will be to develop a larger work base for our dairy. Allan and I bring a wealth of knowledge and experience together to this project. We have art, food, organic gardening, teaching, social work, counseling, administration, marketing, fund raising and construction in our shared background. However, the two of us can’t do all this work. seven days a week by ourselves. The new equipment will go a long ways to help us make the cheese making process more efficient. We know that we need more people to help and we are planning to initiate an internship at our dairy starting in March of 2013. We are currently working on remodeling a small structure to make a sweet little cabin for our first interns. Additional funds from this project will help with this structure. The town of Marfa has become a magnet for independent, enthusiastic people of all ages. We feel confident it will help us lure interns to this area and our project. We will use additional funds for this purpose.
Our other most persistent challenge is supplying a good quality food source for our goats. In the last few years , the drought in the county has spiked feed prices to unimaginable highs. We plan to stockpile feed from this season to get us through the winter. Allan also has started growing small fields of oats to feed the goats. He will expand our fields with our grey water from the dairy to help supplement their feed. Any additional funds from this project will go to buying and growing feed.
Okay, we are not young. We know that but we have always burned with a vision (together and separately) to do something that is creative, exciting and inclusive. Of the organizations we have started, of the programs we have run, of all the students we have taught, of the works of art we have created, we feel this is the most exciting, rewarding and ultimately the best thing we have ever done.
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