I’m a long time Kossack, though it’s been a while since I’ve written anything. Nonetheless, I’ve been here reading, and I know that our community can join together to accomplish remarkable things. I’m hoping Kossacks who love local farms, good cheese, and happy cows will pitch in for this campaign.
When my fiancé and I moved back to St. Louis in January, our first act--before even settling on an apartment--was joining a local community-supported agriculture (CSA) group. If you’re unfamiliar with CSAs, they basically work by connecting farmers and customers in a more direct relationship. Customers agree to pay a set subscription price each month, and in return we get a weekly share of fresh, locally-grown produce and other tasty foods. Fair Shares, our CSA, is combined, bringing together several dozen farms from the greater St. Louis area. In any given week, we pick up a share of veggies, usually a choice of meat, and often some handcrafted treats like bread or canned relishes and apple butter. Our CSA share easily accounts for 2/3 of our meals for the week, and we can dine more comfortably when we know our food is from farms we could visit, grown by farmers we can meet and talk to.
The Marcoots would like to purchase a cheese press so they can increase their repertoire and produce harder cheeses like cheddar and colby. Fair Shares has helped out by creating a campaign on Kickstarter. Members of the CSA have chipped in, and the campaign is now 76% funded-- but they still need to raise another $3,500 (of $15,020) within the next 28 hours, or the campaign will fail and the Marcoots won't receive any of the funding. Sadly, such is the way of Kickstarter.
I leave you with some more information about the dairy and this campaign, from Amy Marcoot herself:
Marcoot Jersey Creamery is a farmstead (all the cheese is made on our farm from our cows milk) artisan creamery in Greenville, IL. We are grass-fed, all natural, hormone free, and all Jersey. We, Amy and Beth Marcoot, were born and raised on the farm. Our parents encouraged us to leave the farm to get our education. They specifically told us that staying on the farm was not a sustainable way to live and that we should leave. Five years ago our dad, John Marcoot, told us that he was planning on selling the cows as he did not know how much longer he could manage the farm. At that point, we decided that we wanted to see the farm stay in our family. We considered many options and decided a value-added business, our creamery, would be the way we would attempt to become more sustainable. A few years later, we were breaking ground for our dream. We have been making cheese for over two years now.
A major component to our sustainability is making great products. That is our goal everyday. There are a few pieces of equipment we need to buy for the quality of our products to continue improving. A cheese press is the major piece of equipment we need. We are very excited about making a great cheddar and possibly even a colby cheese. We cannot do this well without a cheese press. Not only will we be able to add new cheeses, some of the cheeses we are currently making will improve with a cheese press.