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THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE TAKING THE LEAP

TEN CHARACTERISTICS THAT MAKE FOR A GREAT FARMSTEAD CHEESEMAKER 
         1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Organizationalskills Highenergylevel Personaldrive Abilitytodelaygratification Patience Kindness Persistence Creativity Workethic Ingenuity

tering product presentation, that will help giveyourbusinessanedge.
Is there really a lot of dishwashing and repetitive labor? Oh my, yes! Once all of

your cheese recipes have been refined and perfected, it becomes the great cheesemaker’sjobtokeepmakingthem,asidentically as possible, over and over. Keeping thepassionandinspirationevidentineach batchandwheelcanbecomeachallenge.As to dishwashing, there is a standard saying that cheesemaking is 90 percent cleanup. Sanitation and cleanliness in a licensed creamerycannotbetreatedcasually.Itisnot intheleastbitglamorousorinspiring,but youwillspendagooddealoftimedoingit. How could I be too tired to enjoy my animals? Formostfarmsteadcheesemakers theanimalsareusuallythereasontheymakecheese,nottheotherwayaround. Onceyouarelicensed,however,sellingyourcheesebecomesaprioritythatcan takeawaytimewiththeanimalsanddrainyourpatienceandenergytodealwith theirneeds,aswellasthechallengesthatcaringforthembrings.It’snothardfor thepressuresofthecheesemakingsidetoleachthejoyoutoftheoriginalreason forstartingthebusiness—theanimals. What kinds of problems can crop up?Thefarmsteadcreamery,nomatterhow well administered, will face an ever-changing set of challenges. Dealing with equipment failure that leads to lost production or lost product; animal health

PHOLIA FARM: OUR MOTIVATIONS
Wearedefinitelyinthehybridcategory!While Ihadaruralupbringingandabackgroundin dairycattle,Vernhadamore“rural-suburban” background in addition to his professional militarycareer(includingtheNavalAcademy andamaster’sdegreeincontractsandacquisitions).Iwasanurse(anLPNandLVNforthe betterpartofadecade)andthenaprofessional artist. Vern’s retirement from the military, available land from my family, and the desire tocreateasustainablelifestyleledustodairy goats,whichinturnledtocheesemakingand ultimatelytothe“retirement”careerchoiceof afarmsteadcreamery. Ourdiversebackgroundsbroughtassetsthat we could not have anticipated, such as business skills, decision-making capabilities, and anartisticapproachtoourproducts.Ourpast choices over the years regarding investments yielded enough capital to make the initial investment in our creamery.Vern’s retirement income,whilenotalot,alsoprovidesasafety net that makes sure the essential bills can be paidduringtheyearsthatourcheesebusiness isstillinafledglingstate. Iseeourmotivationasadefinitehybrid:my hobbyasakidwithdairycattlehasturnedintoa profession;wetookachunkoffamilylandthat was dormant and added value to it. This was mostcertainlyahugecareerandlifestylechange, andwefeelthatwehaveenteredamarketthat appealstoourentrepreneurialnatures.

FCA final pgs.indd 12

4/12/10 1:44 PM

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