June 2015 — NC Growing Together has released a baseline survey on North Carolina’s growing farmstead creamery industry. A “farmstead” creamery, by definition, is one that manufactures on-farm, value-added dairy products made exclusively with milk from that farm. The survey summarizes data on 13 goat creameries and 10 cow creameries, which constitute an estimated 60% of the farmstead creameries in the state. The survey will be repeated in 2017 to track changes and growth in the expanding sector.
Consumer demand for “local food” – food produced close to the point of sale and having additional attributes such as “natural,” “healthy,” “sustainably raised,” and “from family farms” – continues to grow. In the case of local dairy products in North Carolina, this demand is reflected in the growth in the number of farms seeking to become dairy manufacturers registered and regulated by the Food and Drug Protection Division at the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS), and by the creation of two NC farmstead and artisan cheese associations.
“In this first survey we focused on ‘Farmstead Creameries’, defined as producers of milk, cheese and other dairy products from the farm’s own herd. In a follow-up study we intend to include artisan producers as well. Artisan dairy products are created in small batches and using traditional methods, like farmstead products, but some or all of the milk is sourced from off-the farm,” explains NCGT Project Director Rebecca Dunning.
This article originally appeared in the May/June 2015 NC Growing Together Newsletter.