I can hardly believe that it has been a year since Dairy Goddess Farmstead Cheese has been up and running! When I think about it, it can seem like a lifetime ago…but then again just yesterday.
It has been a crazy year ,that is for sure. To think that just a year ago I received my plant certification after a year and half of planning and building. The same week of my approval I was selling one flavor, Central Coast, at the Hanford Farmers Market. Dairy Goddess is now in 14 farmers markets, 3 specialty stores, and Whole Foods Fresno.
My first month we made cheese with 100 gallons of milk. I can proudly say that as of today, only a year later, I am using nearly 300 gallons of milk a week….to little ole’ me that is very exciting!
Of course the Dairy Goddess does not do this alone…oh no…I have the best team ever.
Co – Captain, Tony Martin, “Mr. Goddess” as he is often called, is my right hand! I would be nothing without his love and support. I thank God for him every day. He rallied behind my idea of making cheese even though I know he thought I was a bit loopy in the head. He supports my whacky marketing ideas. He only rolls his eyes a little now when I put on my hair wreaths and tiara and has accepted my chit chatting and random crazy thoughts. He has become quite the salesman and I know there are quite a few ladies that like to speak with the big strong farmer any day over the Goddess!
My kids! What can I say? Both of them have graduated from college this past year. Tara, working for me full time is doing a great job. She has taken over most of the plant operation and running the valley markets and stores. A.J. my son and Tara’s boyfriend Shane Rodrigues are a huge help in keeping the dairy running smooth while we tend to the coastal markets.
Cousin Cindy Sexton contacted me an said “Hey, I want to help…what can I do”! Help is an understatement. She is not only rockin’ the east bay area in the Farmers Markets but also marketing and recipe ideas. She helps with transportation…even at the last minute. Besides, the blessing of reconnecting with her is the best gift of all.
My Uncle Mike and Sister in law Kathy have been a big help with packaging (even though they haven’t had the best of health this past year). They are always there and do what they can and are our biggest fans.
Tim Luis has been instrumental in packaging and valley farmers markets. His energy and good personality is awesome to be around. He is sadly heading away to college. He is going to be missed…but no worries….we hope to get him in a farmers market near his university.
For a short time we were also blessed to have Aimee Brooks and Sarah Marques selling for us at the coast.
We now are excited to add Kim Welch Mendes (Valley) and Audrey Collar (Coast) to the Dairy Goddess team. We know they are going to be a great addition to our team. Make sure you go and say HI to them and welcome them aboard!
Like anything in life…this year has had it’s struggles. The dairy business has still be tough. Milk prices went up but so did all of the feed. Catching up is still an uphill battle. I pray for our dairy and the industry.
There has been no time off. Dairy and Cheese that has been it this past year. I have sacrificed some family and friend time pursuing this venture. My family and friends understand and have been so supportive but in the mean time those moments are gone.
I have become quite the multi-tasker. As I write this Tony is driving us to Santa Barbara at 530am to farmers market. So for these new skills of time management I am grateful.
My goal for the next year is to possibly expand product line. Become a bit more efficient. I want to spend more time getting in more stores and better marketing.
Most importantly I want to take a bit more time to stop and smell the roses.
Thank you for making this first year such a success! I am so grateful for all the support from so many.
I could not have done it without you!