Every dream must begin somewhere. In my case, the dream of a farmstead creamery began all the way across the country, during a dreary Pacific Northwest winter; since then we have been moving slowly towards that goal. So far that has involved quitting a job, moving across the country and taking up residence on the family farm.
Georges Mill Farm is home to me, my husband Sam, many extended family members, chickens, goats, and Georges Mill Farm Artisan Cheese. Located only 50 miles from the hustle and bustle of Washington D.C., we are a world away.
Although the land here has been in our family for eight generations, we are a farm in transition. Over the years Georges Mill has been many things: a family farm, a riding stable, a home for rescued horses, a bed and breakfast, and now it is changing once again into a farmstead creamery.
The first three weeks of February have been productive ones at the creamery. Both aging rooms received three coats of plaster. The first coat was very rough, and served the purpose of filling the gap between the radiant cooling tubing and the insulation of the walls. The second coat was another “rough” coat, intended to increase the thickness of the wall. The third coat is a “smooth” coat. The smooth coat ensures that all of the walls are level. The final wall finish, a polyurethane cement, will be applied over this smooth plaster. During the application and drying of the plaster coats, the radiant tubing was pressurized, thus any expansion or contraction of the tubing which may occur when chill water is being circulated will not damage the walls.
In just a few days we went from a concrete pad to a framed creamery building!
Cheese makers often talk about the balance of artistry and science in cheese making. The framing design is the balance between artistry and science in creamery building. Certain aspects of framing are dictated by mathematics: doors need to be wide enough for equipment to pass through them, aging rooms need dimensions that accommodate the volume of cheese they will house, blocking between wall studs needs to be in place where shelves will be mounted. And then you have windows, more importantly you have the view from windows… that is where aesthetics come in to the design! Sure, you could argue windows provide light to work by, but with strict candle foot requirements for each processing room dictated by regulating agencies windows aren’t really going to be sufficient in most cases. What windows really contribute to the design is a view and a connection with the outside world!