It's a story with a cheesy ending for one Albemarle County business owner who, with the community's help, raised enough money for new equipment on her farm.
The owner of Caromont Farms used the website Kickstarter to raise thousands of dollars for a new cheese vat. It's something that's been stirring up big business, even beyond the day-to-day making of curds and whey.
The old cheese vat only held 30 gallons of milk producing about six wheels of cheese. Through donations on Kickstarter, Caromont Farms raised $40,000 for the expansion of their facilities, including a new vat that can make 14 cheese wheels. Besides making more cheese, the temperature of the vat can also be controlled more efficiently by an energy efficient hot water heater.
The owner of Caromont Farms, Gail Hobbs-Page, says the new curd knives are also a big deal. They are very sharp, and can cut the curd in a precise manner making for a better product.
All of the money raised through Kickstarter went back into the dairy for plant expansion. Some of the money also went towards a new milk receiving room.
Overall the new operation is now more efficient and Caromont can get more cheese for their cheese.
"The design is very thought out for not only ease of operation, but also efficiency of cheese making," said Hobbs-Page.
She has been asked to speak to other businesses and organizations about how to use Kickstarter. Hobbs-Page warns though, that crowd sourcing is more difficult than it may seem.
"Yes it's an alternative way to make money. No, it's not easy," she said.
Hobbs-Page said it takes a lot of time and effort to use Kickstarter. A portion of the money is taken out for taxes and overhead, and your fundraiser has to be really thought out.
"It's not something that you should enter in lightly, and success should always be the goal," she said.
The cheese making has come full circle: the old vat is being sold to a Staunton woman who's starting her own cheese business.
Caromont Farms will also be having an open house in the spring for people who want to tour the facilities.
Albemarle Farm Earns Big through Online WebsiteMore>>