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Cato Corner Farm is expanding our cheese plant and developing new cheeses to sustain our farm and support local dairy farmers!
290 backers pledged $61,878 to help bring this project to life.

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$61,878

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We love cows – and we love making cheese! 

This fall is the 20th anniversary of Liz’s first licensed batch of cheese. Over that time, we’ve grown to milk 40 Jersey cows and make approximately 50,000 pounds of cheese a year. We’ve developed new recipes, won awards, and built our business – thanks to customers like you.

A Brief History of Cato Corner Farm!
A Brief History of Cato Corner Farm!

Now we are looking toward the long term, both for our business and for the future of dairy farms in our area. We know that we cannot reasonably increase our own herd size – we don’t have the land or the infrastructure to support that. We also know that there are some outstanding dairies in our area that are struggling with low milk prices. Buying their milk will strengthen all of our businesses.

To do this we need a new processing area. In Connecticut, we can’t legally make raw milk cheese from another farm’s milk, so we need a pasteurizer, a milk tank, a cheese vat, and an expanded work space. We will continue to make our beloved raw milk cheeses with our own milk, but this also gives us the opportunity to do something exciting – adding new types of cheese that our customers have asked for and increasing production of styles that we can’t keep in stock! We plan to start with a variation on our very popular Vivace Bambino as well as a cloth bound cheddar. Then, we will introduce fresh products to catch the flavors of each season - like fresh mozzarella to go with the summer tomatoes and cheese curds for winter soups. Over the next few years, we hope to add in burrata, bloomy rind cheeses, and fromage frais.

Charlotte's sketch of proposed plant improvements
Charlotte's sketch of proposed plant improvements

The plant improvements will allow us to continue making our top quality raw milk cheeses alongside the new pasteurized cheeses. We are also excited that the improved facilities will have viewing windows into the cheesemaking process as well as a new space for a cheese shop! We will have a bigger space to taste and talk cheese and feature many great local products like fruit preserves, cured meats, crackers, and more!

Annika's rendering of the new cheese shop
Annika's rendering of the new cheese shop

Funding Specifics

All of this costs money. We have lined up a grant from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture for nearly $49,000. A grant from the USDA will cover some of our non-capital expenses like marketing and operating costs over a two year period, allowing us to free up a portion of our own funds to contribute to the project.

Funding Sources for Expansion Projects
Funding Sources for Expansion Projects

But that still leaves us a little short. We are asking for your support to help us make this important transition. Our crowdfunding goal of $60,000 will allow us to buy a combination vat pasteurizer and artisan cheese vat. With your generous assistance, we can reach this target and more!

Our stretch goal of $77,500 will, in addition to the cheese vat mentioned above, allow us to buy an energy-saving and labor-saving “COP tank” – basically a large dishwasher for cleaning cheese equipment better and far more efficiently than we do now by hand. If we meet our stretch goal, every backer at or above the $25 level will receive a coupon for 20% off their next purchase at the farm shop or our farmers market stands.

A second stretch goal of $105,000 will allow us to invest in climate control equipment for our new aging space. This new space will be more carefully controlled than our current cave, providing a great environment for aging bloomy rind cheese and an area for a slow aging, creamy blue cheese. If we meet the second stretch goal, every backer at or above the $50 level will receive a limited edition "Cave Dweller" tote bag, allowing them to carry their support of cheese aging everywhere.

Thank you! from Mark Gillman, Elizabeth MacAlister, and everyone at Cato Corner Farm
Thank you! from Mark Gillman, Elizabeth MacAlister, and everyone at Cato Corner Farm

 Backer Rewards

Cato Corner Jersey Tote for "Total Turophile" $50 Backers
Cato Corner Jersey Tote for "Total Turophile" $50 Backers

 

Jersey Shirts for "Worn with Pride" $75 Backers
Jersey Shirts for "Worn with Pride" $75 Backers

 

Risks and challenges

Land preservation restricts our borrowing eligibility as it reduces the development value of the land. We are proud that in August 2008 our farm was placed under the protection of two easements. The federal Grasslands Reserve Program protects our pastures from cultivation or development, ensuring that they will remain open space. A conservation easement from the Connecticut Farmland Trust prohibits the development of the rest of the farm. These easements reduce the value of our land in the eyes on a bank, limiting our ability to borrow. We need your help for crowdfunding to ensure the long term viability of our farm on this land!

A second challenge that comes with developing and introducing a new line of fresh milk products is ensuring that there is market demand. We have surveyed our individual customers, restaurant food buyers, chefs, and cheesemongers to know more about what they would like to purchase from us. Their enthusiastic responses inform us as we plan for new cheeses. We hope to ensure an exciting and successful introduction of new cheeses by first starting with styles we have decades of experience making and know people are eager to buy. Then, we will introduce newer styles of cheese on a seasonal, limited basis.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Cowbell

    Many thanks from all of us at Cato Corner Farm -- we'll give you a shout out in our monthly newsletter and on our website.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Curd Cutter

    A personalized thank you signed by one of our cows!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Total Turophile

    A Cato Corner Farm tote bag featuring an illustration of a Jersey cow -- the perfect size to stash a couple hunks of cheese, fruits, and a baguette on the way to a delightful picnic.

    EARLY BACKER BONUS: The first 25 backers at this pledge level will also receive a set of four Cato Corner Postcards.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Worn with Pride

    Wear your new Cato Corner Farm shirt featuring an illustration of a Jersey cow printed on a comfortable cream colored ringspun cotton shirt!

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Hats Off to You!

    Put on a Cato Corner Farm unstructured six-panel baseball cap featuring an embroidered Jersey cow -

    You're invited to an exclusive tour of Cato Corner Farm’s expanded facilities followed by a tasting of our cheeses in the Summer 2018. New York City friends are invited to a tasting event debuting new pasteurized cheeses and more in Spring 2018. We will add your name to our "Wall of Support" in the new cheese shop!

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    The Milkmaid's Lunch Bag

    The Cato Corner Farm Tote filled with two hunks of our best tasting cheese!

    And you're invited to an exclusive tour of Cato Corner Farm’s expanded facilities followed by a tasting of our cheeses in the Summer 2018. New York City friends are invited to a tasting event debuting new pasteurized cheeses and more in Spring 2018. We will add your name to our "Wall of Support" in the new cheese shop!

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Boss Cow

    Get covered tip to tote in the latest Cato Corner swag. An embroidered cap, screen printed t-shirt, tote bag, AND a beautiful cheese cutting board engraved with our signature celtic knot.

    As above, you're invited to an exclusive tour of Cato Corner Farm’s expanded facilities followed by a tasting of our cheeses in the Summer 2018. New York City friends are invited to a tasting event debuting new pasteurized cheeses and more in Spring 2018. We will add your name to our "Wall of Support" in the new cheese shop!

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Cheesemonger's Choice

    Our mongers will pick out plenty of the best cheeses for you! We will send you enough cheese for a party for 30-40 people along with a Cato Corner Farm cheese cutting board. Or get your cheese incrementally with 3 months of the Cheese of the Month club, 1.5 lbs shipped monthly to you or a person of your choosing.

    As above, you're invited to an exclusive tour of Cato Corner Farm’s expanded facilities followed by a tasting of our cheeses in the Summer 2018. New York City friends are invited to a tasting event debuting new pasteurized cheeses and more in Spring 2018. We will add your name to our "Wall of Support" in the new cheese shop!

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    The Cheesemaker

    Be a cheese maker for a day! Spend the day with Mark and the cheese making crew for you and a friend. Fresh farm lunch included, and take home a bag of goodies when you go.

    As above, you're invited to an exclusive tour of Cato Corner Farm’s expanded facilities followed by a tasting of our cheeses in the Summer 2018. New York City friends are invited to a tasting event debuting new pasteurized cheeses and more in Spring 2018. We will add your name to our "Wall of Support" in the new cheese shop!

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    The Herdsperson

    Name a calf and be a farmer for a day! Spend the day with Liz and our staff working on the farm. Help us pick the name for one of our heifer calves. Fresh farm lunch included, and take home a bag of goodies when you go!

    As above, you're invited to an exclusive tour of Cato Corner Farm’s expanded facilities followed by a tasting of our cheeses in the Summer 2018. New York City friends are invited to a tasting event debuting new pasteurized cheeses and more in Spring 2018. We will add your name to our "Wall of Support" in the new cheese shop!

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    The Farmsteader

    Learn about Cato Corner Farm and our cheese at a guided cheese tasting and tour at the farm for up to 10 people. We will show you the entire facilities and offer a private tasting for your group, pairing our cheese with fine local beverages and condiments.

    As above, you're invited to an exclusive tour of Cato Corner Farm’s expanded facilities followed by a tasting of our cheeses in the Summer 2018. New York City friends are invited to a tasting event debuting new pasteurized cheeses and more in Spring 2018. We will add your name to our "Wall of Support" in the new cheese shop!

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    Limited 1 backer
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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    The Certified Cheese Professional

    A private tasting event at your residence or an agreed upon venue led by Cato Corner Farm staff for up to 12 people. We will bring fine local beverages as well as condiments to pair with our cheeses. We will travel up to 125 miles.

    As above, you're invited to an exclusive tour of Cato Corner Farm’s expanded facilities followed by a tasting of our cheeses in the Summer 2018. New York City friends are invited to a tasting event debuting new pasteurized cheeses and more in Spring 2018. We will add your name to our "Wall of Support" in the new cheese shop!

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    The Maître Fromager

    The full cheese basket! Receive CCF T shirts and hats for your whole family. Participate in a private tasting for up to 12 people either at our farm or at your residence. Join Mark for a day of cheese making or Liz for a day on the farm – your choice!

    As above, you're invited to an exclusive tour of Cato Corner Farm’s expanded facilities followed by a tasting of our cheeses in the Summer 2018. New York City friends are invited to a tasting event debuting new pasteurized cheeses and more in Spring 2018. We will add your name to our "Wall of Support" in the new cheese shop!

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    Limited 0 backers
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Funding period

- (39 days)