If you have ever considered making cheese for sale or ramping up your dairy enterprise, The Farmstead Creamery Advisor by Gianaclis Caldwell is the essential guidebook. Certainly the interest in artisan cheeses has caused many a farmer to look at this value-added product as a possible revenue source. All the regulations and issues surrounding these products are as equally daunting as the lure of revenue is motivating. What makes this book so appealing is that Caldwell steps you through each of these issues in a conversational but no-nonsense way.
Caldwell starts with a quick quiz for people to self-select if this type of career is really the right step. From long hours to physical labor to need for creativity, she makes sure the reader understands what running a creamery entails—just from a personality standpoint. If anyone reads this book and proceeds with running a creamery, they have been duly warned.
While the book is packed with lots of useful information that runs the gamut from how many gallons of water (1-5) it takes to process a gallon of milk to considerations of what to do with all the whey and wastewater, Caldwell pulls out particular gems in teasers such as: “Insufficient hot water supply is one of the most common mistakes made when designing systems for the dairy.” Likewise, boxed “tips” highlight important considerations like the type of shelving to purchase that will save the new creamery owner a lot of time, money, and trouble in the long run.
Other topics of importance covered in this book include sizing up your market and, therefore, size of your creamery/aging facility/farm store, design for safety and efficiency, the permitting process, safety procedures, energy requirements, liability insurance, how to deal with a recall, and how to deal with varying milk production.
As with many Chelsea Green books, I love the appendices of the Creamery Advisor. They include several different layouts of different level of dairy operations, sample milk share agreement, milk and cheese quality test parameters, and numerous suppliers and resources. And as with other Chelsea Green books, this book contains lots of great photos from different creameries that Caldwell showcases in this book.
Deciding to build or operate a farmstead creamery can be overwhelming and complicated. Gianaclis Caldwell has done an excellent job in The Farmstead Creamery Advisor of honing in on key pieces of information that will help guide people in building and running a small, farm-based cheese business if they decide that is a prudent business decision. Reading this book will help people a great deal in making that decision.