What a long strange trip it’s been!
Farm Fromage started by accident one snowy Sunday in February of 2010. In our local newspaper was an article on how to make cheese at home. I did and was hooked. My daughter gave me a book with 50 cheeses to make at home, and I made one just about every weekend. I searched the countryside for various types of milk and discovered a goat farm where I could purchase goats’ milk. I spoke with the farmer and discovered that he had just started to make cheese on his farm. I stopped by the farm as often as I could to talk cheese.
On August 4th of 2010 I was fired from the sales job I despised. As I drove home to give my lovely wife Angela the news thoughts whirled in my head. I have always liked to present things in a positive way, so I told her the good news. I was going to work for a new company. When she asked the name, I told her I would tell her as soon as I made it up and so Farm Fromage was born.
I decided our mission would be to help small family farms and cheesemakers get more money for their hard work. They could not live on the milk truck check. We started out with one novice cheesemaker, two family farms and six so, so cheeses.
We started by attending local farmers markets and telling our story and sharing our Mission with anyone who would stop and listen. I think luring them in with samples of cheese helped. We also sold to small specialty food stores and restaurants in Lancaster.
As time passed, we began to attend numerous farmers market in Philadelphia, Upper Marion, and Manayunk Pennsylvania. I attempted to peddle our cheeses to restaurants and local wineries as well.
Our roster of farms and cheeses grew, and we realized we needed to attend larger events with more potential customers. We started doing art shows and wine festivals. In September of 2012 we had the honor of representing Pennsylvania farmers at the Farm Aid Concert at Hershey Park. We went from festival to festival like we had joined the carnival. Along the way we acquired new restaurant and store customers. Our event schedule grew to over thirty a year, every month but July and August. We hardly had time to breath between events. We realized that we were acquiring a bunch of customers who genuinely enjoyed our cheeses and our mission. They told us so every year, saying things like how they looked forward to getting cheese once a year at this or that event. We got good at attracting a crowd with our, “Welcome to the cheeses of Pennsylvania” tour. Folks who tried our cheeses would walk through the event talking about the funny, delicious cheese tour they had just taken. The yellow and red “I Heart Cheese” stickers did not hurt either. Our sales grew as did our exhaustion, aches, and pains. Long hours of standing in the booth and lumpy hotel beds were growing old as were we.
We realized that we had to find a better way to make our wonderful cheeses readily available year around. We implemented an online store. Our festival customers were excited that they could purchase online. Few did. I read that the way people purchase things was online and the trend was going to grow. We updated our store and modernized our website to grow sales. We were on a roll between vending at events and ecommerce sales. We could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. It turned out to be the COVID 19 Express. We went from mongering our cheese at thirty-six events a year to ZERO!
I cannot imagine large events where we can sample and sell our cheese happening in the foreseeable future.
Our major sales thrust is now and will be online ecommerce sales. We hope we get good at it FAST. As sales grow, we hope to expand our offerings to include stuff that compliment cheese such as jams, mustards, and crackers.
Thanks for reading this blog post. If you have enjoyed it and our cheese, we ask that you order some. It makes a great gift for any occasion. Consider getting a gift certificate for others. Order from our ala carte line up. Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram and share our posts and your experiences with family, friends, and acquaintances.
Thanks for a great first ten years and your help in the next ten.
Considering all the stuff that has occurred one thing is for certain, cows, sheep and goats are still giving and will continue to give milk. Small family farms still need our help and local is always best.