October 31, 2012
Dairy co-op opens cheese shop
Just Say Cheese offers local products from area farmers
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cortland Bulk Cooperative manager Brenda Sprouse displays some of its dairy products for sale at its shop in Polkville. The cooperative’s Cheese Shop will be having its grand opening Nov. 8.
POLKVILLE — Cortland Bulk Milk, a dairy farm co-op, has opened Just Say Cheese at 3819 Route 11, a store that features dairy products made from local milk, as well as other local products.
The co-op has 70 dairy farms that ship milk that is used to make Chobani Greek Yogurt, which has a plant in New Berlin, Chenango County; Leprino Foods, a global cheese producer with a plant in Waverly, Tioga County; Great Lakes Cheese, with a plant in Adams, Jefferson County, and Buttercup Cheese, based in Central Square, Oswego County.
The farms include Stuart Young’s Spruce Eden Dairy in East Homer, Martin and Mary Ann Young’s Whey Street Dairy in Cuyler and Calvin and Matthew Wood’s Woodstead Farms in DeRuyter.
Just Say Cheese will offer yogurt and cheeses from the businesses that buy the co-op’s milk.
“Chobani is going to be our big one,” said Brenda Sprouse, Cortland Bulk Milk’s manager, “because last year we put 10 million pounds of milk into Chobani.”
Cortland Bulk Milk opened the store as a way to promote the co-op and local products , said Sprouse, 62.
“Local is very important,” she said.
The store’s grand opening is scheduled for Nov. 8 through Nov. 10, said Sprouse, who’s worked for Cortland Bulk Milk for 31 years. The Cortland County Dairy Princess Allyson Augur is expected to make an appearance.
The store’s hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.
In addition to dairy products, the store will offer quilts made by the wives of dairy farmers in the co-op, pancake flours from New Hope Mills in Auburn and jellies from Fruit deVine in Munnsville, Madison County.
The co-op plans to carry jams and jellies made by farms in the co-op, but won’t be able to this year due to the drought conditions in the summer time.
Cheese curds from Stoltzfus Family Dairy LLC in Vernon Center, Oneida County, will also be available, Sprouse said. The store will also carry goat cheeses.
“That’s something people just go crazy for,” Sprouse said.
The store will be staffed by the co-op’s two employees — Sprouse, and Denise Maroney-Hollenbeck, 41.
“It’s kind of a small scale thing to begin with,” said Stuart Young, the co-op’s president. “If it grows, it grows. And that’s good.”
The co-op started talking about the possibility of opening a store two to three years ago, said Young, 63. There are several similar shops run by co-ops across the state, he noted. Then the talk turned serious in the summer of 2011.
“It’s taken us quite a while to get this going,” Sprouse said.
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