A collective effort among five farms to bring the highest quality milk, cheese and local products to market is in its infancy, yet Sweet Acres Creamery is seeing amazing results for its diligence.
The new dairy processing plant and warehouse in Geneva, New York, began operating last year. Milk from member dairy farms is bottled, butter is cut, cheese is aged and all is readied for delivery to small stores and road side stands dotting the Finger Lakes. The online Country Store offers A2 creamline milk (which is easier to digest), chocolate milk and a wide variety of cheeses, meat, eggs, baked goods, pantry items, snacks, and more. Most products are sourced locally. One can shop with ease and have the order delivered to their home for free or a small fee.
Taking the creamery from a concept to a company in just three years, with its own brand, wholesale and retail sales, plus distribution took commitment – but why? “I know how difficult it is to do it alone. I’ve already done it, having had my own cheese business under the Heaven Scent brand. As a collective we have more backing, more resources,” said Jerry Stewart, who owns 62 acres with his wife Amy in Cohocton, home to 30 jersey cows. Jerry is one of eight original board members and manages sales and marketing for the company.
“We had our first meeting in November 2017 to discuss ideas. We formed a board and began planning. I brought my cheesemaking recipes here so we can continue to make cheese. Our first curds were made last July. We started bottling milk in September, and began wholesaling last Christmas,” said Jerry. Home delivery soon followed.
Co-ops and collaboration are nothing new in food distribution but the mission of Sweet Acres Creamery is quickly propelling both company and community ahead to a vigorous future. By working to “improve the health, sustainability, and quality of life within our communities by producing and marketing local, high quality farm products” there’s a growing sense of well-being among founding members and partner food suppliers.
“This is really a grassroots effort. We work with small farms (some certified organic) and are trying to connect with people we know to help one another grow and promote business,” noted Jerry. If you dig deeper, there’s more to the story. “Healthy soil is the basis of healthier animals, and nutritional products” he said. As the owner of Balanced Biology Solutions, LLC, a company focused on “sustainable agriculture and producing the highest quality products in the most natural way” that translates to what’s on the dinner plate… or in your glass.
Heading to Canandaigua in search of mountains of Sweet Acres Creamery cheese, I stopped at Outback Farm Market and was delighted by the variety in the case. Cheddar, Gouda and Monterey Jack were available in curds, cubes and blocks in plain and flavored, and both young and aged. Who can resist sharp Cheddar curds, creamy Baby Gouda, or a Grillmaster Monterey Jack? This dreamy creamy cheese brings a host of flavors you’d hope to find on your next steak – garlic, onion, paprika and spices (or was I dreaming of how good this would be on a burger?). Delicious cream-top A2 whole milk and chocolate milk, plus a variety of their cheeses can be found in markets from Canandaigua to the Pennsylvania border, Syracuse too. For more information on the company and member farm stories, to create an account, or place an order visit https://sweetacrescreamery.com/products/.
Ann Duckett is a writer, cheese educator and recovering cheesemonger. She delights in helping others find their cheese bliss through classes, events, and sharing stories of whey, wheels and wedges. Find out more at Little Blue Catering and Events.