Sustainability can be a problem at many dairies, but in this blog series intern Alicia gets the deets on some eco-friendly cheesemakers from across the map. Find out what makes each cheese green, and enter the weekly contest for a chance to win an issue of culture.
Sometimes, achieving sustainability can be too much for one enterprise to take on alone. But when eco-friendly businesses join forces, everyone comes out a winner. Such is the case of Landmark Creamery, an Albany, Wisconsin cheesemaker that connects with other sustainable operations in the area, showing that contributing to the sustainable cause needn’t be a lengthy, expensive endeavor.
Anna Landmark, founder and owner of Landmark Creamery, started out making cheese in her kitchen just for fun. Upon deciding to get certified (Wisconsin is the only state that requires licensing for cheese sellers), she embarked on a two year journey, attending classes at the University of Wisconsin and apprenticing with sustainable cheesemaker Cedar Grove Cheese. “It was good hand on experience,” Landmark says.
Landmark buys her milk from sustainable sources, though farming is in her blood. “My grandfather was a dairy farmer, and I always had horses and I enjoy having livestock,” she says. She adds, “I have my own dairy cow and goats, and I think that’s how i got interested in cheesemaking, using all the excess milk.”
Landmark takes her milk and uses the facilities at Cedar Grove Cheese (the same place she apprenticed) to make her larger batches. Cedar Grove Cheese is well-known for being sustainable; they even have their own “living machine” to naturally filter their washwater. This uses natural bacteria along with wetland plants to cleanse their water before releasing it into a nearby creek.
The partnership is mutually beneficially for both Landmark and Cedar Creek Cheese. Landmark can use high-end equipment appropriate for a large volume of cheesemaking, while Cedar Creek can help out new sustainable cheesemakers, both furthering their cause and ensuring that the next generation will follow in their footsteps.
And Landmark is already saavy to this idea: she makes sure the milk she buys comes from small family farms with healthy herds for the highest quality milk. “I really like being able to support other farmers and spread the wealth, in a sense.” She further explains, “They’re looking for their own business ventures, and looking for ways to support their young families.”
And Landmark believes sustainability is something that takes a community. While she’s still growing her business, she sells her cheeses online and at Madison-area farmer’s markets. The public’s reception? “I think consumers care about it, too.”
This week’s contest question is: How do you support small businesses in your area? Submit your answer in the comments below by Thursday, April 10th at 12:00p.m. EDT for a chance to win the current issue of culture. The winner will be chosen at random and announced in next week’s Green Cheese post.
Tune in next week to hear from Santa Gadea, a Spanish goat creamery that is carbon negative by using a variety of techniques, including reforestation.
Photo by Landmark Creamery