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www.naturesharmonyfarm.com

www.facebook.com/Naturesharmonyfarm
www.naturesharmonyfarm.com www.facebook.com/Naturesharmonyfarm
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146 backers pledged $31,342 to help bring this project to life.

About

$31,342

146

Thank you all for helping us to achieve our goal!!

We believe that there should be widely available alternatives to factory farming and industrial agriculture. In fact, we believe that so deeply that we left our careers in corporate/urban life in 2007 and founded Nature's Harmony Farm. Since that time, we tirelessly devoted ourselves to not only reconnecting animals with the land, but also people with the origin of REAL food. 

Across the United States, small dairies have been disappearing for decades. Our area is no exception, and the farm we purchased had an old, dilapidated dairy parlor that was only vaguely reminiscent of days long ago when a farmer could make a living milking a small herd of cows. In 2010, we modified that old dairy building, invested in costly Grade-A dairy equipment and milked cows for the first time. 

Our initial aim was to harvest whey from the cheesemaking process so that we could sustainably feed our Ossabaw Island hogs. Along the way, we became passionate about producing cheese. But not just ANY cheeses. We fell for the AGED, old world, handcrafted natural rind cheeses, and set to create them from our Jersey cows raw milk. Styles such as Alpine/Gruyere, clothbound cheddars and even aged blue cheeses that are best consumed 6-18 months after they are made. We make ONLY raw milk cheeses because we believe they are both the most nutritious and the most flavorful. As a result, each of our cheeses must age for at least sixty days (according to U.S. requirements).

A full cave of cheeses that need to age for a long time
A full cave of cheeses that need to age for a long time

Unfortunately, there is a cruel irony in the world of cheese. The irony is that it's more profitable to produce younger cheeses that have higher moisture (water) than longer aged cheeses that have a concentration of flavor from the local terroir. Not only is it more profitable to make fresh, younger cheeses due to the much higher yields and reduced labor/energy costs for aging the cheese for months on end, but cash flow is much faster for makers of fresh, younger cheeses. That provides the cheesemakers with constant cash flow for operations and improvements.

Our Fortsonia Gruyere Cheese
Our Fortsonia Gruyere Cheese

The fact is that it costs much more (and is less profitable) to make old-world, long-aged cheeses.  Rather than focus on young/fresh cheeses purely for financial reasons, we aspire to help create a local food culture where aged, artisan cheeses are not only exquisitely produced, but prized beyond our local area. We believe that there should be no need to import blue cheese from England or Alpine cheeses from France and Switzerland when you can get cheeses just as great, right here. But, making them "just as great" requires adequate tools and aging space, and that's where you can help.

How Your Pledge Will Help

There are a number of investments that we need to improve and expand our creamery. The goals of this project are to:

  • Create a larger cheese aging room, so that we can have the proper environment for each of our aged, natural rind cheeses. We currently are at full production for our cave, and we do not have adequate space to properly age our blue cheese.
  • Open an on-farm retail store, so that more consumers may support local food, and "agritourists" may visit our farming community. This need is directly related to the cheese cave, as we need to free up space occupied by our current cave to make room for a farm store.
  • Create a packing/shipping area for distribution and shipping of cheese.
  • Purchase critical cheesemaking equipment. This includes a pneumatic cheese press so that we can properly press our cheddar cheese. We also need stainless drain tables, costly cheese molds and forms as well as a piercing machine for making blue cheese. 

Why Are We Asking for Help?

At Nature's Harmony Farm, we milk cows daily and make award-winning farmstead cheese, but we do it mostly with cut-rate equipment and limited space. We'd like to expand...to produce more farmstead cheese for our local community and for others farther away through distribution relationships.  And we'd like to expand so that we can create jobs for the local community. In order to do that, we need your help.

Use of Proceeds

Kickstarter projects are all or nothing. In other words, if we fall short of the target goal, then no funds are raised. This project is unique in the sense that there are a number of investments we hope to make, but we've set the project threshold at $27,250. If you can help us to raise that amount, at a minimum, it will enable us to expand the cheese aging space and open an on-farm store.

For example, we may be able to expand our aging space and open a farm store for as little as $20,000 if we use walk-in coolers or reefer trailers. However, a better design would be to add on space specifically designed for our aging requirements, with drained floors and separate, climate controlled rooms to meet the needs of each cheese style. Constructing that will cost much more, but will meet our expansion goals for a much longer period of time.

Rewards

In order to raise cash to fund the investments we've described, we're thrilled to offer a number of rewards to thank you for your support. These include high-value rewards that teach skills as well as high-value food rewards. Whatever reward level you opt for, please know that we are grateful for your help. 

Of course, you should know that our reputation is very important to us and we will deliver each of the rewards on or before the promised date

Even if you do not participate, we'd like to thank you for considering our project and to encourage you to support local, sustainable agriculture.

Kickstarter only allows one pledge per person. If you're interested in more than one reward, simply add up the total value of all pledges you're interested in, pledge that amount and email us to let us know which rewards you want.

Thank you so much for helping us to expand our family, farmstead cheese operation!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook AND sign-up for our email list if you want to be sure to keep up with us and our updates!

Risks and challenges

We have several options of where and how to add space for our aging our cheese as discussed above, and we'll make the final determination of which option is best once we see how much money is raised. The goal is to have the farm store open and additional aging space created by the end of October 2013.

We hope you can help us by funding this project! Again, thanks so much for your support of local food and honest family farming.

www.naturesharmonyfarm.com

www.facebook.com/Naturesharmonyfarm

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Friends of Nature's Harmony! - To express our sincere thanks for supporting us and sustainable farming, you will receive a personal thank you email, a shout out on our Facebook page and 10% off your first purchase at our on farm cheese shop!

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    Farmstead Cheese! - Approximately 1/2 pound of one of our farmstead cheeses (cheesemakers selection), shipped to you via Priority Mail or you may pick up on farm during cheese shop hours, if you prefer. Shipped in December, just in time for the holidays!

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Milk them Cows! - In addition to a personal thank you email and a shout out on our Facebook page, you will get to come and milk the cows with one of our team members one morning or evening, based on your preference. Can be scheduled anytime October 2013 - March 2014. Good for one person only...if you want to bring friends or family, please ask them to pledge!

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    Farm Goodies - In addition to a personal thank you email and a shout out on our Facebook page, you will receive your choice of any two of the following: 1) a signed copy of Poisoned Soil, 2) a signed copy of The Accidental Farmers, 3) 1/2 pound of one of our cheeses, 4) a 2014 Nature's Harmony Farm calendar. Can be shipped or picked up on the farm during normal cheese shop hours.

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    2 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    More Farmstead Cheese! - Approximately 1 pound total of our farmstead cheeses (cheesemakers selection of two different cheeses), shipped to you via Priority Mail or you may pick up on farm during cheese shop hours, if you prefer. Shipped in December, just in time for the holidays!

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    Limited 39 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Local Food Hero - Wherever you are, we know you're out there. Someone who doesn't want or need something as tangible as a bumper sticker or mug, but wants to support sustainable agriculture. If you'd like to help us with this project and want nothing in return other than our sincere gratitude, this option is for you. Like all reward levels, you have the option of pledging even MORE if you would like. Your name will be listed as a "friend of Nature's Harmony" permanently marking our entrance into our Cheese Shop! Physical recognition that your support helped us build our businses. Thank you so much for your support of sustainable family farming!

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    13 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    Podcast Library - For three years, Liz and Tim produced a highly ranked podcast describing the ins and outs of rural life, sustainable farming, homesteading and self-reliance. Those podcasts were taken down in 2012 due to hosting costs. Now, here's your chance to enjoy them all again via download or on CD! That's right, almost 36 hours of that feeling of being in the living room with Liz and Tim as they answer caller questions and describe the life and times of the "accidental farmers". Will be available in November, 2013, just in time for Christmas if you'd like to purchase one for someone else too (just double the pledge amount)!

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    2 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    The Gold Card - This pledge entitles you, the donor, to 20% off all farmstead cheese purchases in our on-farm store, for the rest of the decade! Expires 12/31/2019. Your name will be listed as a "friend of Nature's Harmony" permanently marking our entrance into our Cheese Shop! Physical recognition that your support helped us build our businses.

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    10 backers
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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Elegant Farm Dinner - An invitation for TWO to enjoy a special dinner featuring meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables all from Nature's Harmony Farm. The dinner will be prepared by one of Athens leading chefs, and will begin with a tour of the creamery and a cheese tasting. The intimate, group dinner will be held May 31, 2014, and pledge is for two people.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Personal Tour & Lunch for Up to Two- We know many of you have followed our podcasts, books and blogs for years. Now, enjoy an intimate three-hour tour of our farm and homestead, including lunch with Tim and Liz. Walk the pastures, and say "hi" to the dairy cows, sheep, chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, Ossabaw pigs. See our gardens, orchards, raised beds and medicinal garden. Discuss all aspects of starting and running a sustainable farm and homestead. We'll coordinate these tours in groups of four and work with you to set a mutually agreeable time. Ideally, the tour will be in either October or November, 2013, or in April or May, 2014, to better enjoy the weather.

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    Pledge $600 or more About $600

    Succulent, Ossabaw Island Pork!

    In addition to a personal thank you email and a shout out on our Facebook page, you will be able to enjoy one half of an Ossabaw Island pig that has spent his entire life roaming the woods and pastures of Nature's Harmony Farm. We will pay for processing...all you have to do is pick up the meat within a one week window. You will be able to work with the processor on exactly how you want your pig cut! Processing will occur between December 2013 and March 2014, depending on when the pigs are ready for the butcher. We will let you know the schedule one month in advance.

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    Reward no longer available 3 backers
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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Farmstead Cheesemaker Class for One!

    Think you might want to become a farmstead cheesemaker? This two day event will help you to decide if this life...our life...is right for you! Even if you don't want to make the leap to become an artisan cheese maker, this gourmet getaway event is perfect for anyone who truly appreciates cheese, fine food and wants to reconnect with its source. Some of our guests have found that this makes a wonderful gift for a loved-one!

    Class size will be no more than four people and dates will be agreed upon. Class will be scheduled between November 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014 based on mutual agreement.

    Full terms and class details at: http://naturesharmonyfarm.com/farmstead-cheesemaker-class/

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    Pledge $995 or more About $995

    Organic, Grassfed Freezer Beef! - This pledge entitles you to 1/4 of a 4 year old Murray Grey bull. After being born on our farm, he enjoyed a great life and now can be great on your family's table.

    He will be processed at a facility in northeast Georgia. We will pay for processing...all you have to do is pick up the meat within a one week window. Processing will occur in September, 2013.

    We won't know the exact weight until we go to the processor, but our best guess is that you can expect 100-130 pounds of organic, grassfed beef, depending on how you order it cut. With beef prices skyrocketing, this is a GREAT deal!

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    Pledge $1,400 or more About $1,400

    Your Own Jersey Milk Cow!
    If you follow us on Facebook, you've no doubt seen pictures of our beautiful Jersey girls. We love them dearly, but three of them have...uh...volunteered to help fund the expansion of our cheese operation by finding a new home. Your home.

    For $1,500, you will receive a Jersey milk cow that is bred, under 5 years of age and due to calf in Feb/Mar, 2014. Must be picked up at our farm.

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    Reward no longer available 1 backer
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    Pledge $1,950 or more About $1,950

    Chef's Reward - For chefs in Athens or Atlanta, Georgia, enjoy up to 10 pounds per month of our wonderful farmstead cheese for a FULL YEAR, delivered right to you, beginning October 2013. We'll do our best to deliver the cheese of your choice (Elberton Blue, Fortsonia, Georgia Gold), and work out flexible shipping with you (20 pounds every other month instead of 10 pounds/month, etc.) This is a great way to ensure that Nature's Harmony Farm will be allocated to your menu for a full year, and a wonderful way for you to demonstrate your commitment to local, farmstead cheese. We'll be sure to give you and your restaurant a huge shout out on our Facebook page and to our email list. We will also feature you in a special profile on our website with a link to your site, and your name/business will be listed as a "friend of Nature's Harmony" permanently marking our entrance into our Cheese Shop! Physical recognition that your support helped us build our businses.

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Funding period

- (30 days)