by Hannah Zisman
Molly Kroiz has spent over two years building a goat cheese creamery from the ground up in Loudoun County, Virginia. With a Masters degree in Marine Biology and no prior training in cheese making, her decision to start a dairy and produce artisan cheese was an unlikely one.
THINKING ABOUT CHEESE
“I’ve always had an interest in food and cooking” says Molly, but she credits the book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life” by Camille Kingsolver for getting her started on cheese. The book details a family’s challenge to live solely on locally grown food for a year and also included one very important recipe for Mozzarella.
Molly was living in Seattle at the time with her now Husband, Sam Kroiz, and working for the Marine Fisheries and Wildlife department as a Marine Biologist. She would make Mozzarella in her spare time “we could buy all of the ingredients in Seattle and it was fun!”
As Molly’s passion for cheese making grew and her discontent for her current line of work deepened, Molly and Sam decided to move back to his family’s farm in August of 2011 and attempt to start what is now Georges Mill Farm Artisan Cheese.
Molly began the process by reading anything she could get her hands on. However, the Holy Grail of cheese making literature came to her in the form of Gianaclis Gladwell’s book “The
Farmstead Creamery Advisor: The Complete Guide to Building and Running a Small, Farm-Based Cheese Business.” The detailed read covers everything from building the cheese facility, to following safety regulations, to actually turning a profit.
By Spring of 2012, Molly and Sam had built little sheds, milking stands, portable fencing, and purchased their first four goats - two does and two doelings.
ALONG THE WAY
The process was, of course, not always simple. “There were lots of challenges, like trying to figure out the building materials and determining all of the equipment we needed” recalls Molly. “We also learned that most business fail if they don’t write a business plan, but I had never written one.” To this day, Molly credits her very first business plan to keeping the dairy on track both strategically and financially.
During the Spring of 2013, Georges Mill Farm Artisan Cheese accomplished its goal of obtaining a Grade B Dairy License from the state of Virginia - the golden ticket required to sell cheese.
LEARNING EACH DAY
Molly takes pleasure in learning something different every day “I like that I’ll never know everything about cheese and goats” she says. “It’s also fun to sell something that you make directly to people.”
The dairy could not have been accomplished so quickly without Georges Mill Farm, which has been in Sam’s family since 1774. The original Civil-War era stone house is still intact and operates today as the Georges Mill Farm Bed and Breakfast, while the creamery is located inside the historic bank barn. Molly and Sam take pride in being the 8th generation of family to live and work off the land.
Currently, Georges Mill Farm Artisan Cheese sells chèvre, feta, and a French-style bloomy rind cheese at the Purcelville Community Market every Saturday. Visit purcelvillecommunitymarket.com for more information.
You can also call 571.442.7444 to schedule a visit to the farm and pick up some cheese.
1. Visit the website georgesmillcheese.com
2. ‘Like’ Georges Mill Artisan Cheese on Facebook facebook.com/GeorgesMillFarmArtisanCheese