Our names are Leon and Angela Atwell. Leon grew up on a dairy farm in Remsen, NY and learned an enormous amount from his parents and began his farming career right out of high school. He began operating our present farm in 1997 when he was 21 years old. I grew up in the city of Plattsburgh, NY with an Accounting Degree and had no experience about dairy farming until our paths met in 1999. I found a new accounting career and moved from northern NY to Central NY in the year 2000. We were married in 2003; we have no children of our own, but we are surrounded with family and friends. We have a passion for wholesome fresh food and sharing our love of farming. Our interest in cheese making was really an idea and a whim, a possible hobby. We used our fresh farm milk and made a few batches of cheese curd in the kitchen and found it so creamy and delicious. It was a taste we have never experienced before. We began to research and toss around the idea and possibility of processing our cow’s milk into cheese. We decided to take a four day class at Penn State University in the Science and Art of Cheese making. This taught us the proper handling of milk, sanitation techniques, microbiology of milk, and the art of cheese making. When we returned, we were tuned up and dialed in with the idea that we just may be able to do this. But in our excitement we were cautious and hesitant that this may just be a crazy idea and not a sustainable business. It wasn’t long before friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances were not only supportive but shared our excitement.
In the fall of 2014, we decided to order lumber, “in case” we may want to build our dream of a small creamery. That was the beginning of our adventure. Before we knew it, concrete was getting poured, walls were going up, and plans were getting made. Our family and friends came to our side to help build our dream into reality.
We worked diligently to obtain necessary licensing and setting up our creamery with all of the necessary items. We also needed to figure out how to begin advertising and setting up our financial records. All of these tasks took careful, but flexible planning and research. We asked as many questions as possible, to as many people who would talk to us. We produced our first batch of cheese for our new business on April 15, 2015.
We have found throughout this process that people have a very strong interest in where their food is coming from. Fresh wholesome food is important for staying healthy. Many of our parents and grandparents grew up, worked, or visited farms. People are interested in learning and asking about our farm. People generally like and have interest in farm animals. They want to know more about the animals and how they are providing our fresh food. We take pride in discussing our love for farming. Our cheese business is a wonderful way to meet new people and to share our experience as well as provide a farm fresh product to our customers.