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).
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.
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.
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!
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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