The Cultured Cow Creamery is committed not only to crafting high quality cheeses, but to creating positive change in the world. The enterprise depends on owner David Falk, a businessman and cow breeder; herd manager Dr. Sam Galphin, a veterinarian and adjunct professor at North Carolina State University; and cheesemaker Rabbi Sholom Estrin, a newcomer returning to his family heritage of dairy farming. The members of the creamery’s team each wanted to make a difference in the world, and selected cheese as the means to do it. Cultured Cow, located in Durham, makes a local, vegetarian raw milk cheddar.
Cheese is one of the oldest manufactured foods. At Cultured Cow, they’re making cheese in a more sustainable manner that can be replicated around the world. Owner David Falk had land and buildings from a previous dairy. He approached Sam Galphin about reopening the creamery, and Sam agreed to do it if the new creamery could be used as a model for replication worldwide. Cultured Cow Creamery joined Sam's company, Agri-Science Opportunities, that includes everything from veterinary and nutrition consulting services to breeding top-quality milk cows to research into a cancer treatment based on a protective agent produced by cows. At least ten percent of company profits go towards solving social problems.
Rabbi Sholom Estrin was one generation removed from a long line of dairy farmers. He was well-versed in laws of kosher food and had a love for the food-making process. Combined with his desire to be a good steward of the planet, these attributes made him the perfect cheese-maker for the Cultured Cow Creamery.
Cultured Cow cheese starts with high quality milk. Sam manages the herd, breeding top notch cows and keeping only the best animals. His Holsteins are highly regarded worldwide, and listed on his sale website with their pedigrees and awards. The herd size is limited to 100 milking cows that receive no added growth hormones or antibiotics. The cows graze on 135 acres of pasture year-round. Supplemental feed is all vegetarian, both locally-produced hays and manufactured food by-products (like grain from breweries or cotton seeds). They do not feed the herd any food that would otherwise be used for human consumption.
The milk goes straight from the milking parlor to the cheese-making facility next door. Cultured Cow Creamery uses vegetarian rennet and adheres to the highest level of kosher certification (Cholov Yisroel) by kosher certification agency OK Kosher. (Since we cut the large blocks of cheese into small blocks at our stores, we cannot sell the cheese as kosher. This will change soo n and the cheese we sell WILL be Kosher.)
The farm also has a commitment to sustainability. Three wind turbines and many solar panels provide power. The hot water in the cheese vat is heated by a set of solar panels above the cheese room. Very little water goes to waste. All the water on the farm is from ponds and wells. “We are committed to making cheese in an environmentally sustainable way by using a combination of local resources, smart manufacturing procedures, and renewable energy sources.”
But the Cultured Cow Creamery’s vision extends beyond our local community. The farm and creamery were created with the intention of modeling an industry to be replicated in developing countries. Cows are found everywhere in the world, cheese can be made anywhere, and cheese stores more easily than milk. Cultured Cow aims to share its knowledge of the dairy industry, providing a process that can be easily duplicated. They plan to partner with governments, organizations, and educational institutions, and to provide all the steps necessary for a successful dairy operation: embryos of good quality cows, an education program to teach breeding, a vet practice that can train others in cow care, an operating dairy to teach milking, a green energy farm model, and a model cheese operation.
Learn more about the Cultured Cow Creamery at their website, or follow them on Facebook.