A Fresh Exterior for the New Year
Despite early assurances that we had a shot at completing the creamery by the end of the year it was evident pretty early on that that wouldn’t be the case. Sadly, as 2011 comes to a close it looks like having the creamery ready to run by the time the goats start milking again at the beginning of March isn’t going to be attainable either. Thank you very much contractors.
While our construction crew has labored 6 days a week to complete the exterior siding, the electrical contractors were on site closer to 3 days a week (and have been completely off the job for the holidays for a solid 2 weeks), and they show up to work 2 hours later and leave 2 hours earlier. Mechanical contractors have passed on bidding on the project, most of them citing a lack of familiarity with the cold and humid aging facilities of a creamery. We finally have someone who put in a bid, but this late in the game we’re looking at several weeks before equipment is ordered and on site.
We’re predicting that the company installing the flooring will be able to start by mid-February, but there are issues with the contract they are proposing (which includes a clause holding them harmless from any hazardous waste spills they might commit on our property). Plus we can’t ignore that even once construction is complete and all equipment is installed we still need to be inspected and approved by CDFA, I will have to pass the written and practical Pasteurizer’s License Test, and the dairy will have to be approved and licensed. I just recently witnessed the delays my friend Liz experienced with those final requirements getting her new creamery (Portland Creamery) in Oregon operational, so while I can’t foresee any issues for us, I also can’t deny they may arise.
At least we haven’t been idle while all this goes on (or more accurately doesn’t go on). Sarah and I have had day-long meetings putting together equipment orders for the smaller items, like foaming foot sprayers for entryways, an air curtain for over the door where milk will come into the creamery, ingredient and packaging scales, a mixer for incorporating salt and flavorings into fresh cheeses, and an incredibly long list for Nelson Jameson for items like floor and equipment brushes, hairnet and disposable booty dispensers, pH meters, and small microbiology lab equipment.
We have also been reviewing an updated prediction of our milk production for next year based on the goat’s due dates, and have run production cost numbers and pricing, all in an effort to help us plan the production schedule and marketing strategy. I have packaging samples that we are evaluating. I’ve nearly completed writing up our HACCP plan, and documentation of our Good Manufacturing Practices, Sanitary Standard Operating Procedures, Master Sanitation Plan, Environmental Swabbing, Milk Testing, and Recall Plans are all finished. So progress continues, and from the exterior the creamery looks great. While not ready to receive milk, I still will have something to toast tonight at midnight, and I shall resolve to be patient.