a collaboration of seasoned cheese professionals, farmers, artists, and chefs with a mission to bring you artisan goat and cow's milk cheese inspired by our Southern home and Italian heritage.
As a first generation farming family working among generations-old farmsteads still in operation, we have been honing our skills for more than a decade, and we’ve been doing so on our own slice of southern red clay since 2009.
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in NY, owner Austin Genke and his wife Dani lived in Las Vegas, working in restaurants and casinos. Five years ago they made the transition to North Carolina, where they own and operate Boxcarr Farms on their 30-acre homestead in Cedar Grove, raising chickens, pigs, and vegetables, and their young son Ariyeh.
Austin's sister, co-owner Samantha Genke, had already been in the area since 2003 when her brother and sister-in-law moved to North Carolina. For over a decade she's been here, making cheese, working at the area’s top restaurants, raising goats, and helping with the many ventures at Boxcarr Farms.
In addition to the Genke clan, Boxcarr Handmade Cheese has recruited a group of food professionals: Alessandra, a cheesemaker from Italy, Mike, a chef in local restaurants, and Hilary, for media and office management.
You might recognize us: Austin and Dani started a food truck called Local In Motion and a catering company, both using their own produce and meat, are frequently at the Farmer's Market, and all of us are frequently spotted working at (or enjoying!) local restaurants. We are all seriously committed to being an active part of our farming and foodie communities!
We will release an initial line of goat and cow’s milk cheeses that show the depth of flavor that comes from our Southern culture and Italian roots. Our team’s talents and experience are what make Boxcarr Handmade Cheese unique. With two veteran cheesemakers (with decades of combined experience) and two culinary professionals merging skill sets, our Team Cheese is already crafting test batches of fetas and bloomies, washed-rinds, and other specialties that are hard to find outside of Italy. Our cheese will be made using the highest-quality milk from our trusted friends, all of them veteran dairy farmers and animal lovers.
Our initial lineup will include a washed-rind cow's milk cheese similar to Taleggio, called Lissome, a delicate, mixed-milk cheese aged with herbes de Provence we're naming Cottonseed, and also a beautiful, traditional mixed-milk robiola called Rosie's Robiola, a name that has special meaning to us. Other cheeses will follow soon afterward, including seasonal specialities. Once we're up and running, you'll be able to find our cheeses in local markets, retail shops, and restaurants.
We are in the final stages of constructing a 2,900 sq. ft sustainable cheese production facility on our 30-acre farmstead in Cedar Grove, North Carolina. Overlooking the farm, its location allows us to see how far we’ve come and how far we can go. Austin has chosen a building method that allows for easy expansion over the years and uses insulated concrete forms made with energy efficient materials, allowing us to grow with increased demand over the coming years. It is our hope that with this facility, and with your help, we will soon be able to provide our cheese to local and regional communities while building a strong foundation from which to enter larger national markets.
So far, we've assembled our dream team, and our facility is almost complete. As you can see, we’ve already made huge strides. We couldn't have done it alone and are so thankful for the support we've received so far!
We still need some specialized equipment that will help streamline our process and allow us to reach a greater number of customers, and we need the security of your support to put us on sure footing. As a donor you will help bring Boxcarr Handmade Cheese to life.
Take a look on the right at all the great rewards we are offering! We have a wide range of prizes to thank you for your contribution. You could be part of “Team Cheese,” a limited-time only interactive cheese club — we give you cheese for three months and you give us your thoughts. It’s a win-win.
Or, your donation could get you invited to a family-style dinner at the farm prepared by our own Austin Genke, graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, who grows his own food and makes everything by hand. Yum.
Of course, WE also think knowing that everyone is one step closer to getting a taste of our delicious cheese is reason enough to donate!
If we reach our goal, our cheeses will be available to buy in retail shops and restaurants this coming Spring, 2015! We can't wait, either.
Stay tuned to our campaign for updates!
A special thanks to Brett Lysak for videography and Ben Lassiter for the soundtrack, and of course, also to Kate Elia for her help.
We took some of our pictures, but for those we did not, credit (and thanks) also to Donn Young, Mark Pettit, and Andrew Robinson.
Hey everyone! We are thrilled by the positive response we've had to our campaign, and are beyond grateful to our first round of supporters! It's been good news so far: we've been designated a Kickstarter staff pick, and are almost a quarter of the way to our goal. We feel excited but still have a ways to go to make our goal of $25,000 by January 9th. So, we still need your help! Here are a few words from Austin:
At this point we're about 30% funded. We're inspired by all the support so far and as we see and recognize (or don't recognize!) each name added to the list of donors, our hearts swell with gratitude and feelings of community. It really does takes a village, and we love and are so thankful for our little 'village' of friends, family, businesses and even heretofore strangers all across the country who have voiced and shown their support.
Here's a quick message from Alessandra Trompeo, one of our charming cheese experts!
We hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday as we post on Christmas Eve. As of today there are 15 days left for us to reach our fundraising goal. It's hard to believe that our campaign has been live for a month and we've made it to 10k, and have 64 backers. There's still time for us to make it to the goal and we humbly ask for all of our friends and family to help us share our cause in these final two weeks leading up to our deadline.
Happy holidays! Here's a throwback photo of Sam and Austin to make things Christmas-y.
We've reached our goal! We are so so happy to have exceeded the set goal of $25,000 - it's exciting and humbling, and so cool to feel so connected to the community, both online and off. Folks can continue to pledge money, of course, and since the project will definitely be funded, they can know for sure that their contribution will count!
We still have lots of great rewards to offer, and definitely have many ideas for how to put further contributions to use.
Samantha is in Los Angeles at the moment, and sent us this little video to share with everyone as we count down the last day and a half of the campaign. Thanks so much, everyone!
Risks and challenges
We have worked to remove as much risk as possible before launching this campaign, and thankfully we have had lots of practice running businesses in the past. However, we understand that even though a great deal of time, money, and energy has been invested into this venture, bumps in the road can always come along. Nevertheless, we are enthusiastic and optimistic about our business model, and are confident of our ability to anticipate and react to any issue.
As with most new businesses, getting our gears running smoothly and efficiently is our first priority. For us, this has a lot to do with managing the flow of milk from our local sources. When there is a surplus of milk to work with, we hope to introduce aged cheeses to our lineup. This way, no extra milk will go to waste. This variation in milk flow will have us paying close attention to production time, recipes and marketing the final product. Because our team is experienced, devoted, and passionate, we will be flexible and creative in our daily decisions regarding this ever-changing supply of milk.
Fortunately, because of our extensive connections in the food community, we have retail outlets and restaurants eager to buy our products, and because we are confident that full funding will provide our business with the resources to successfully fund our purchase of specialized equipment, we are certain that these challenges will be met and overcome.
We will keep you up-to-date on our progress, and will work our hardest to make our amazing cheese available to you soon!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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