I subscribe to the DC Food For All email list, and recently Michele Levy sent out a call to lend a hand a family-owned dairy farm that many of us know and love. Keswick Creamery, which makes the most wonderful cheeses (and yogurt and pudding), is in a bit of a sticky situation right now – see below. So they’re starting a CSA-style program to raise funds and add a bit of stability to their business. If you’ve never had their cheeses, you really must. These days I’m a particular fan of the Italian Herb Feta, which I used on a home-made pizza just this week. CSAs aren’t for everyone, I know, but if you think it might fit into your lifestyle and you like awesome cheese, check it out. I’m reprinting Michele’s email with the link and details:
Many of you in the DC and Central PA areas know of Keswick Creamery– if not by name, then by their yogurt, their infamous Dragons Breath pepperjack, or by their seemingly endless buffet of samples at their stands at the Dupont Circle, Takoma Park, Bloomingdale, FreshFarm White House, H St. NE, and Carlisle farmers markets. Like so many small family farmers and dairy farmers across the country, Mel and Mark Dietrich Cochran are on the verge of losing their farm. But it’s not that business has been slow– they’re actually growing and getting lots of great press– but Mel’s parents are divorcing, and her father is looking to quickly cash out his half of the farm. If Mel and Mark don’t raise $300,000 by September 1st to buy out their share, the cows, machinery, and land will be put up for auction, meaning that not only would Mel and Mark lose their livelihood, but that the family would be forced off the land that’s been their home for 40 years.
I’ve had the joy of working for Mel and Mark at farmers markets in the DC area for the past two years, in which time they’ve become both close friends and mentors as I’ve pursued my own career in food access and sustainable ag. Not only do they run an inspiring business model and make the best chocolate pudding around, but Mark and Mel are also passionate activists working literally around the clock to up the quotient of sustainable deliciousness throughout the Mid-Atlantic area. For years, they’ve been active members and board members of the Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) and the Takoma Park Farmers Market, and recently founded a thriving cooperative called Natural Newburg to help bring goods from six neighboring sustainable family farms to the Philadelphia area.
So many of us work to promote sustainable agriculture, effectively working to increase numbers of thriving small family farms. This is an opportunity to come together to save one particular family farm that has given so much to our communities. Mel and Mark have decided to fundraise through the principles of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). By participating in this program, you wouldn’t just be helping them out, but you’d also be guaranteed years of incredible cheese for yourself or as gifts. Pretty win-win.
Please check out their website for details, and forward widely!