Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Not only can your sister attend the class instead (or friend, or mom), but you (or they) can trade up. What a thoughtful and interesting experience gift for the person who has everything or just prefers to have experiences over things or is really ‘into’ cheese or homesteading! Great idea and thank you for asking.
If you are only ready to pledge at the level that gets the Admission for one to our "Cheesemaking at Home" cheese class, but your sister (or whomever) would want to attend our Full Day of Cheese class (lunch included), we will credit the normal price of admission to the “Cheesemaking at Home” class to the fee for the Full Day of Cheese, she would only have to pay the difference at registration time.
If you are thinking about the cheese classes, this is definitely the time to pledge. Those rewards are limited and a great value!Last updated:
A cheese cave is a beautiful environment that cheese can age gracefully to perfection. In our case it will be a cooled room with both the temperature and the humidity controlled.
Think of it like trying to ripen a piece of fruit on the equator or North Pole. At the equator it will ripen quickly and naturally, but over ripen and rot easily. At the North Pole the fruit will be frozen, it will never ripen (it doesn’t rot either, but is that really what you want?).
Cheese is a living thing too, in a good environment it can grow well and mature. In a too cold environment, its growth is halted, its life extended, but it can never mature to its full potential. In a too warm environment it quickly achieves the maximum culture growth it can support and allows unwelcome bacteria overcome the deliciousness it was intended to become.
A cheese cave is the controlled environment that can be maintained at correct temperature and humidity for the intended cultures to thrive. It also allows the cheese to be naked and not suffocated in plastic. This alone would not only allow us to make much more fantastic cheeses, but it would reduce our plastic use on the farm significantly. Once cheese is aged properly in the proper environment it creates its own rind/skin that means we can maintain it for markets in paper instead of plastic too. This is the equivalent of the flavor of my peaches that ripen on the tree (the ones the birds leave me). If you have never had a tree-ripened peach, I highly recommend the culinary experience.Last updated:
We already actually have the most of the construction done, the largest part of the expense for us is to build a dry-goods area to hold all of our packaging and non-aging cheese materials, which are currently stored in that area for lack of any other place for them.
When the initial construction was done, we knew we wanted this cave, so we built it with the insulation and other requirements we knew we would need for converting it at a later date.
We are lucky that the construction of our dry-goods area will be just two walls and one door short of creating the room that will be used as our class room and starting point for tours (and already boasts a HUGE window for looking into the cheese room so you can watch the process!). For just $2500 more, we can complete the whole area and improve our community accessibility.Last updated:
http://Kickstarter.com is a community funded project incubator. It’s also known as crowd source funding. This is a place for all the projects that don’t fall into the category of charities to raise money.
The way Kickstarter works is a person like me gets ambitious to do a project, or cut a cd, or produce a play, or self-publish a cookbook (see Lark’s amazing project here: http://kck.st/yt2i4J), or build a community farmers marketplace (like in Maine: http://kck.st/zXkFK4) or make some awesome cured meat products like another farmer in PA (http://kck.st/ya3g0i - I can’t WAIT to taste some of this with our cheese!). The person/entity with the dream may not have the ability to fund their project… and rather than just let it die for lack of conventional financing for myriad reasons, they choose to put together a Kickstarter Project and reach out to the community (both on local and world wide – you may be interested because it’s YOUR farmer, you may be interested because it’s a family farm on the other side of the world and you want to see more successful family farms - and less mono-crop agricultural conglomerates).
So, how does it really work? People like YOU decide a Project is important… or at least important enough to part with a few dollars. Enough people make a difference. Some Projects fund in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, often $10-25 at a time.
Another project I backed (http://kck.st/wlzN0Y) is a young lady that wants to go study cheese being made in Italy. I didn’t ever know of this person before stumbling upon her Kickstarter. I thought I would LOVE to do this, but I can’t – I’m too busy with my own dairy. But that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t get to, and for a few dollars that when push comes to shove I won’t even notice missing… I get to be a part of it. I get to help her go live one of my dreams… and that alone is worth it. Then, I started following her blog, and interacting with her, and getting excited for her… for less than a ‘movie night’ or even going out to lunch. Now, I get a Backer Reward from her too, a memento from our little shared experience. How cool.
But it’s all or nothing.
If a project doesn’t reach its funding goal by the time the clock runs out, no credit cards get charged, nobody gets any funding and the project is dead. You can try again, but I have watched a few try, their second and third attempts each getting less and less support than the original.
In our case, if it doesn’t fund, the project is on indefinite hold. We have more fencing and shelters and improvements to make here on the farm for the health of our herd. We won’t be able to develop what would be our community access portal… at least not for a few years.
But… if we get your help?! Your $10? Your $25? Your $500? We can do this, this year, and make our farm more sustainable by offering the classes people have been requesting and providing new cheeses for the palates to enjoy, and most importantly providing a connection between people and their food.
Did that answer your question? Maybe not… try clicking on the ‘Pledge $xx or More’ button to the right that most closely fits the rewards you want or the budget you have… Kickstarter and Amazon have done the rest of the explaining and will walk you through it without all of the silly distractions I can’t help myself from putting in! Last updated:
There is a little honored law that prevents the interstate shipping of cheese unless you are under the FDA’s watchful eye (yeah, I know, the same folks that let millions of containers of ‘food’ from other countries come into this country without so much as a sniff test). We are certified under the WSDA (Washington State). Last year we had 12 various inspections/inspector visits in just over 3 months. The time lost from that alone was nearly enough to break us, inviting the FDA to use more of our time that we either have to have lost production or pay employees for is not economically possible at this point.
Shipping cheese via a carrier that COULD bring it out of state is enough to trigger this clause. Sorry.
However, if you are not able to come pick your cheese up (either at the farm or one of our farmers markets this summer), we would be so happy to donate your cheese to our local food bank. Even if you could pick it up, but prefer it be donated, let us know. Good Cheer is our local food bank and they are extraordinary. During this economically challenging decade, Good Cheer has kept the citizens of this community fed, well (much grown in their OWN garden), sustainably and respectfully. Learn more about our Island jewel http://www.goodcheer.org/Last updated:
We honor the seasonality of goat cheesemaking. Our fresh cheese is just now coming back online. This project would help us to offer more aged cheeses providing us with a more stable year-round ability to pay our feed bills.
We have two local shops (bayleaf in Coupeville and Oak Harbor as well as Scotty's Farm to Market in Freeland) that carry our cheese regularly when it is available. There are also a few wine tasting rooms. In Langley The Wine Shop on Second keeps the largest inventory. Several fine restaurants use our cheese or offer it on their cheese plates. When we go to Ballard we are lucky to enjoy our cheese (image of it shown in the video) from the Walrus and the Carpenter (they also use a bunch of local vegetables grown here on Whidbey at Willowood Farm on Ebey Prairie).
Once this Kickstarter funds (hopefully!!) we will open our new farm store here in the fall. The only place you could get our cheese and meet the girls responsible and thank them personally!!Last updated:
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