Where do you feel the best place is to live life? A life that is lived to its fullest potential? A life that is fulfilled and full of love, joy and passion? Do you feel that it is best to live inside the box or outside it? Read on and I will give you my answer to that question.
For those of you who know us and are connected to our farm, you already know we do things differently at River’s Edge Goat Dairy. We believe this is why you make the effort to leave the convenience of the grocery store and visit us to purchase your cheeses, meats, eggs and/or skin care products. Your efforts mean a great deal to us and we believe your efforts are the start of a beautiful movement to more nutritious food, created in a more sustainable way for the land, animals and people who create the food, not just at River’s Edge Goat Dairy, everywhere.
At River’s Edge Goat Dairy, we have come to a crossroads. To continue to produce our dairy products to the high standard you appreciate and enjoy, we have come to the point that we must either renovate our current cheese production area or build a new cheese making facility. Our facility is small, a 9x13 room. Most people’s bedrooms are larger and some people’ bathrooms! In this small space we have a 300L cheese vat, a 50L vat for milk, yogurt and kefir, a 100L vat for sanitize solution, a large wash sink, a small handwash sink, drain trays, and a work table. If two people are in the cheese plant working, we do what is affectionately called “The Cheese Plant Dance”. There is no room for social distancing in there!
The other issue is that our cheese plant is now over 15 years old. We have produced a LOT of product since July 1, 2005! We wash walls, floors, doors and ceiling over and over again. 15 years of intensive washing has left a few areas in need of repair and upgrade.
When we built this original cheese plant, there was little information available. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, who grants us our production license, simply had no resources to draw from for on-farm production of dairy products. It was a huge learning curve for all. Over the last 15 years plus, we have produced over 5000 batches or product! Now that we are masters of our craft, we know what can make us more efficient and what we need to make better cheese. Yes, you heard me. Better cheese. We are constantly told by our loyal supporters that our cheese is the best they have ever had and we thank you for that feedback! This keeps us pushing forward AND we know we can do better. With a new cheese making facility, we can have the equipment we desire. Most desired is a proper cheese press and SPACE to move! With space, we can work more effectively and bring even more LOVE into our products.
We have been told, and we feel, we have been inspiration for others to follow in our footsteps. We have certainly learned a lot and the industry has grown a lot in the last 15 years. We would still like to be the farm that pushes the bar and leads others to producing better quality, more nutritious food by working with Mother Nature. Our new cheese making facility will be designed as a teaching facility for all, from those with a general interest in cheese, up to those who want to become cheesemakers and sell cheese direct to consumer. Our goal is to have more cheeses produced everywhere that are alive, living entities full of the microbes needed for healthy lives. Cheese produced with love and intent of creating health and enjoyment rather than a focus on profit.
We know WHAT we want, we know WHY we want it. We are relying on YOU for the HOW! Because we are a small farm and both Will and I are self-employed, we do not qualify for financing from the banks. Banks require income. Will and I do not show enough income to qualify for bank financing. We could get financing from Farm Credit Canada if we fit into their model of large scale food production. We do not fit this mold. This is probably a reason why you make the effort to purchase from us.
HOW are we going to construct the “million dollar” facility without financing? The same way we do everything here at River’s Edge Goat Dairy, by being resourceful, using our talents and knowledge, determination, guidance and support from YOU our loyal clients and our ability to flex and roll with the punches.
We have some exciting programs coming for you!! This includes memberships and experiences at River’s Edge Goat Dairy. We are going to have FUN with this! Opportunities for all to experience farm life with the land, animals and making cheese.
As farmers, we have learned to work 16-20 hour days, seven days a week, while this is not a goal, this stamina certainly is an asset. We have also learned to plan well into the future. We learned from the impressive Shelburne Farms in Vermont, to make plans for our farm by looking 150 years into the future. We envision a time when our great-great grandchildren will be on this land. This forward thinking led to the foresight of creating a special “savings account”. Over the last several years, we have taken advantage of productivity outperforming sales by stocking up on cheese like one would put money into a savings account. The inputs for this cheese have been paid. We can put revenues from these cheese sales towards our new facility construction. We have all we need financially in that cheese. We need your help to turn it into cash. Unfortunately for River’s Edge Goat Dairy, we have not yet found building suppliers that will take cheese in exchange for construction materials!
The question I asked at the beginning of this blog, Where do you feel the best place is to live life? A life that is lived to its fullest potential? A life that is fulfilled and full of love, joy and passion. Do you feel that it is best to live inside the box or outside it?
At River’s Edge Goat Dairy, we believe there is NO box.