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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.

Doesn't this look like a happy cow?
One of the farms in our CSA is a family-owned and operated dairy farm just across the river in Greenville, Illinois: the Marcoot Jersey Creamery.   The Marcoots do it right.  For seven generations they’ve raised jersey cows using sustainable practices.  Today the Marcoot sisters and their families produce cheese curds, quarks, and soft cheeses that are simply the best I’ve ever tasted.  Their cows are grassfed and they aren’t loaded up with artificial hormones and antibiotics.  I've met one of the Marcoot sisters at the weekly farmers' market in Tower Grove Park, and her love for their cows and their products is crystal clear.

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.

Donate $30 or more and you can name a calf!  How about "Kossack"?
This is where (hopefully) you fantastic Kossacks come in.  Check out the campaign and consider chipping in a few bucks.  If you don't live near St. Louis or southern Illinois, it may be pretty hard for the Marcoots to send you any of their fantastic cheese curds as a perk, but maybe you could request that they or Fair Shares donate yours to a local food bank?  That would really make someone's day!

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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  T&R for action (10+ / 0-)

    We've been getting most of our veggies from a CSA farm for about 7 years now. It doesn't cost much, if any, more than we would be spending at a grocery store.

    But we have met "our" farmers, and know that whatever is delivered in our box was in the ground not two days previously.

    It doesn't get any fresher than that.

    You can check out CSA farms near you by going to Local Harvest and doing a search.

    I'm not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was. -- Mitt the Twit

    by Senor Unoball on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 10:08:50 AM PDT

    •  Agreed - CSA shares are economical (5+ / 0-)

      I was initially hesitant about joining; our shares average about $50 per week and I thought there was no way we eat that much.  But it really does cover so much of our meals, it ends up being cheaper than buying fresh produce at the supermarket.  Plus, some of the items (like this cheese) are simply better than supermarket equivalents.  Fresher, tastier, healthier.

      "One must never tire of repeating that racism is a monstrous error or an impudent lie." -- Franz Boas

      by Varlokkur on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 10:24:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I keep meaning to set us up with this and keep (7+ / 0-)

      forgetting. Thanks for the link -- maybe this will get me going finally.

      We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

      by Tamar on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 10:25:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Check out the details of various farms (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tamar, bfitzinAR, BachFan, Varlokkur

        You should be able to find one that fits your needs.

        We get two boxes per month. One large box and then two weeks later a smaller box. That provides probably 90% of the vegetables needed for the two of us.

        Our farm delivers to our house, so we do not have to travel to a pickup site.

        Of course everything is organic, and we simply get whatever fruits and vegetables are ripe that particular week. We can always call ahead and trade things if they were going to offer us something we don't especially like.

        Living in the Bay Area of California, the farm has produce year-round, or has trade-outs with nearby farms who also operate year-round.

        One of the big selling points for us is that the farm we picked lets us purchase by the box, rather than asking us to come up with a yearly or seasonal subscription, as some farms do.

        I'm not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was. -- Mitt the Twit

        by Senor Unoball on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 10:48:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I lived in St. Louis but now am far away on (5+ / 0-)

    the east coast. Still, I like the idea of helping fund a good family business like this.
    Did they consider listing this on Indiegogo instead of Kickstarter? My understanding is that on Indiegogo you set a goal, but even if you don't meet the goal you can use the contributions for what you planned. I helped out (a little) a friend of my daughter who's a massage therapist and wanted to pay off 6 months of rent so she could give free or discounted massages to LGBT folks suffering from high stress levels. I know her well and know she will use the money the right way so I felt good about contributing.
    She did meet her goal, but if she hadn't, from what I heard, she would have just had fewer months of rent paid off, not lost the whole thing.

    We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

    by Tamar on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 10:24:23 AM PDT

    •  Not sure (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Senor Unoball, Tamar, bfitzinAR, BachFan, weck

      If the campaign fails, I'll mention this to the folks at Fair Shares when we go pick up our food tomorrow.  But there's still time to pull through!

      "One must never tire of repeating that racism is a monstrous error or an impudent lie." -- Franz Boas

      by Varlokkur on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 10:41:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Indiegogo is the answer (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Varlokkur, BlackSheep1, Tamar

      Although Kickstarter is the flavor of the month, Indiegogo does indeed not force you to meet any goal. . . you can set an amount you wish to meet, a time limit for raising money, or an ongoing account to raise money. It's a much more flexible way to raise cash for any event, business, or any needed funds. And they seem to be doing very well, indeed.

      Best of luck to your friends.

      Uncle Sal

      "I certainly feel much more like I do right now than I did when I first came in..."

      by Sal Bovoso on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 12:20:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hope they make their goal. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Varlokkur

    I chipped in a donation, although I'm close to Tillamook. I like fresh, artisan cheese, as well as good 2+ year old cheese. Besides Jerseys are just such pretty girls. They pump out really rich milk.

  •  They made it! Thanks everyone (0+ / 0-)

    The campaign came down to the wire, but the Marcoots will be buying their cheese press!  We're looking forward to sampling their new cheddars and colbies.  Thanks to those Kossacks who chipped in!

    "One must never tire of repeating that racism is a monstrous error or an impudent lie." -- Franz Boas

    by Varlokkur on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 09:06:38 AM PDT

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