By Katie Spring, Outreach & Content Specialist at NE-DBIC
The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC), hosted at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, provides support to dairy businesses through projects that promote the development, production, marketing, and distribution of dairy products.
On a spring day in mid-April, when the weather shifted from cold spring to the first warmth of summer, the NE-DBIC team loaded into a minivan to head west.
Destination: New York! As in, rural New York, where three of our dairy farm grantees raise cows, goats, and make cheese, yogurt, and ice cream.
As a regional center serving 11 Northeast states, site visits give us a chance to more deeply connect with the dairy farmers and processors who tend to the land and livestock while building businesses that not only feed their communities, but also create positive economic impacts. This trip brought us to North Country Creamery, Moxie Ridge Farm, and King Brothers Dairy.
North Country Creamery
North Country Creamery is a 100% woman-owned dairy going into their 10th year. A recipient of the NE-DBIC Food Safety & Certification Grant, NCC received funding to install new cleanable wall and ceiling covers, new entrance doors, to upgrade their ventilation system, and to install a new buffer tank with controls in their processing room.
Owner Ashlee Kleinhammer showed us around the creamery and farm. With a herd of 100% grass-fed cows, Ashlee focuses on herd health, sustainability, and expanding sales throughout the Adirondack foodshed. A small team works with Ashlee to produce cheese—sold in specialty food stores around New York—and yogurt—which is sold both through retail markets as well as institutions including schools, hospitals, and the Saranac Lake Olympic Training Center. You might say their yogurt is fit for an Olympian!
Their Dairy Food Safety & Certification Grant is part of a larger effort to expand their production.
Learn more about North Country Creamery.
Moxie Ridge Farm
Moxie Ridge Farm is a goat dairy and creamery. A recipient of the NE-DBIC Dairy Marketing & Branding Grant, Moxie Ridge received funding to develop an e-commerce website along with a brand and PR strategy to increase off-season income by leveraging online sales.
Started in 2017 by Lee Hennessy, Moxie Ridge is home to 40 milking goats and is known for their Bulgarian Feta, which is sold seasonally at Union Square Market in New York City. Along with milking and cheese production, Lee raises whey-fed and acorn-finished pigs and is developing a line of goat milk shave soaps.
Learn more about Moxie Ridge Farm.
King Brothers Dairy
Our final stop of the day was at King Brothers Dairy. A recipient of the NE-DBIC Dairy Marketing and Branding Grant, King Brothers is working with a marketing firm to rebrand their product offerings, develop a strategic marketing plan and an on-going consumer campaign to build upon their recent processing expansion.
King Brothers Dairy sells milk in several flavors, yogurt, and ice cream at their farm store, and also sells milk at regional grocery and convenience stores. The NE-DBIC team enjoyed ice cream cones at their farm store before heading back to Vermont.
Learn more about King Brothers Dairy.
The NE-DBIC Dairy Marketing & Branding Grant opens again on April 27, 2023. Learn more about this funding opportunity here.
The NE-DBIC Dairy Food Safety & Certification Grant is expected to re-open in December 2023. Learn more about this funding opportunity here.