Smoky Valley GREEN CHEESE!. Over the last year or so since we bought the facility and farm I have wondered over environmental impact. Then i watched the “Story of Stuff” and the “Clean Bin Project” . I wondered How could i make the selling and packaging of cheese more environmentally friendly. plastic is just the life of cheesemaking. Or is it? Here is where we are at so far.
Firstly our Display boxes at the market…They are made from reclaimed wood. They are lined with reusable ice packs. We coat them with a plastic straw matt. The previous owner used plastic tubs to keep the samples in. We bought the “DOME” which allows us to cut as we go, and wash the containers each homecoming in dish soap and reuse. We do not run a generator and we bring our own wash station and cloths to the Farmers market table to clean our knifes etc.
We do Vacuum pack our cheese which results in plastic. We do seal our chevre in plastic tubs instead of vacuum packed tube. I weighed this one out and decided that the tub was the lessor of the evils because it allowed for one to store the product in the fridge without more plastic wrap to rewrap the product for its next uses. We also instruct people on using their ice cube tray to freeze the chevre into cubes so that they can keep the product longer without having to consume in a few days. We do wrap our soft bloomy rind cheeses in Crystal Paper for Retail but for farmer’s market it is a plastic wrap. Keeps longer.
In January we are going to a Clean Bin Project Meeting. What I want to know from our customers is in the poll. Do I need to pursue this question and or dilemma further. We all need to do our part, and i don’t mind being a pioneer. But if the consumer does not value it then, …have i taken green cheese as far as it needs to go or could we, should we go further.

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2 Responses to GREEN CHEESE

  1. fantastic questions!
    i dont make new years resolutions, but do try to do ‘something’ each year.
    my this year project is to minmize my packaging…..have already talked to some farmers market vendors about suppling them with my own containers to fill – reusable bags and various containers
    as the year goes along i will be documenting and sharing a list of vendors who practice minimal packaging
    i would LOVE to include you on that list
    i’ll stop & chat with you about it the next time i see you at city104market!
    su 🙂

  2. While I feel it is important, I wouldn’t say it is top of mind awareness.

    For example, when I am shopping at the grocery store, I alway see things like price, ingredients, nutrition breakdown, and brand LONG before I notice what the container I am currently holding is made of, and whether or not that container is contributing to environmental sustainability.

    What I do know, is that doing more, with less materials, in the capitalist economy only MAKES SENSE. So continue with that level of integrity and sense of purpose, and not only will you continue to make no LESSER of a product, while only doing great things, and be finding more cost effective ways of doing it. Not all ways of reducing environmental impact come at an expense.

    For example:

    Redbull, they manufacture their products from start to finish with sustainability in THEIR front of mind awareness, and while some efforts may INCREASE cost, they also find many ways that reduce cost, inventory requirements, and shipping costs. This is the same reason Apple packs its iPhones into such small boxes, not wasting space just to make their products appear bigger on shelves. The cost of reducing that shelf presence was originally rejected by the marketing department, but the supply chain management guys said that it reduced costs enough to give the marketing guys a little more money to work with, to make customers want to make people go LOOKING for the product, and instead they didn’t spend the money on advertising, and instead spent it on research and made better products.

    UPS and Fedex were at war for delivery work in major cities like New York and Los Angeles, and were opening up retail location after retail location trying to make it so they were easily accessible. They pre-printed envelopes for large clients and both sent them lots to have on hand with easy tracking labels already attached, but people still grabbed whichever brand came with a closer location.

    Yet most customers seen at least ONE UPS and Fedex truck on their way to whatever drop off point they were looking for, and undoubtedly customers probably wished they could just hand it to the driver and ask him to add it to their route or drop it off the next time they stopped at the depot.

    One rep at UPS made the request to do it, to allow drop off boxes on the side of parked trucks. Everyone resisted, from the operations guys who thought it would be too expensive. From the safety guys that thought people might try to shove too big or too many packages in and over flow the box or worst yet a terrorist use it as a place to plant a bomb.

    But alas they innovated and researched and the developed this system. The cost of research and development alone was expensive. Let alone actually doing the work to all their trucks! But it allowed them to cut down on expensive retail locations, gas expenses and all associated staffing costs.

    A core principle of innovation and “Doing more with less” is not only going to result in environmental sustainability in your business, but long term financial cost reduction and thus.. profit growth! A dollar saved is better than a dollar earned, because a dollar earned as margins, and a dollar saved just goes in your pocket!!

    I am excited to see how far Green Cheese can go!! Hopefully you inspire some egg and pig farmers so I have green eggs and ham for breakfast, along with some nice shredded SzendiMoon melting on top. 🙂

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