For five years since its beginning, the Calkins Creamery has been steadily growing. Now, with the addition of a pasteurizer, it will grow even more.
The creamery is located at 288 Calkins Road and is part of Highland Farm, a dairy establishment opened in 1841 by the Bryant family.
“The new pasteurizer makes us able to multiply the cheese products we offer,” said Emily Montgomery, the daughter of dairy farmer Bill Bryant, one of the most successful dairymen in Wayne County.
The pasteurizer heats the milk to a temperature of 145 degrees in order to get rid of the more toxic bacteria, and makes it easy to turn the milk into a cheese that can be eaten the next day, Montgomery said.
These cheeses include mozzarella, ricotta, havarti, cottage cheese and milk curd.
“The reason why our farm is so successful at a time when many
dairy farms are going under is that we have diversified,” Montgomery said. “Our products are raw milk, pork from our pig farm, beef from our herd and cheese from our creamery.”
Another asset is the use of the cave at the former Calkins Creek Vineyard, which closed down. “That adds to our storage capacity without having to build another structure,” she said.
Now with the new pasteurizer, our capacity will be doubled, she said.
Another step up in diversity will be the addition of a summer farm tour. “These are becoming very popular with city dwellers who want a country experience,” Montgomery said. “We’ll show them the barn, the cows, the milk parlor, the bee hives and the creamery. Kids especially love this.”
Most of the retail business has been concentrated in Philadelphia but that is changing. “We are now sending our products to two farmers markets in the city, at the 82nd Street Market and the Fort Washington Market, both in Manhattan,” she said. A third farmers market they use is in Warwick, NY. The creamery has been selling cheese at the Callicoon Farmers Market in recent years.
“What is most encouraging is the interest in local food,” Montgomery said. “People want to know where their food comes from. Restaurants are also beginning to get on board now. We hope to benefit from this movement, which is big in Sullivan County, NY, with the large number of second homeowners from the city. Right now, the local food movement has come to
Honesdale with Transition Honesdale, a part of the Transition Town movement, and Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture, a group of local farmers who promote local, seasonal foods, development of community, encouraging restaurants to purchase their foods locally and encourage farmer retention.
“I wish I could participate physically in Transition Honesdale, but I have small children and a business to run,” she said. “Otherwise, I would be right there with them.”