{Recipes & Eats} / {Tutorials & Handmade}

on a fresh look

I mentioned a few posts ago that I was out of town for almost a week a couple weeks ago. I was visiting my Southern Illinois bff, Bethers!

Beth making ice cream while I visited.

Yum.  Yum.  Yum.

Beth graduated in the spring (she had the same concentration as I did, that’s how we met!  and then we found out we got to the same church and it was a Jesus-friendship-at-first-sight). She moved back to the family farm to apply experiential education in agro-tourism (yes, Beth is that awesome).  On the family farm, they make they make the world’s most amazing cheese!

Confession: before meeting Beth I wasn’t wild about cheese.  Well, it’s not like I disliked cheese, but I certainly would never ever ever just eat cubes of cheese by itself.  Ew.   I’m told it’s normal to enjoy just cheese all by it’s lonesome… but I just couldn’t do it.  I just liked it melted on chips.

Now, I’m not all about Aldi-pre-shredded-plastic-dyed-cheese.  Now, I know about fresh farmstead cheeses (hello, havarti) and cave aged cheeses (hello smoked gouda and alpine, lovers) and the world’s most incredible fresh mozzarella.

Hollllleeee.

Cow.

Literally.

Beth is part owner of Marcoot Jersey Creamery (with the rest of the fam, naturally), based out of Greenville, Illinois.  They’ve had Jersey Cows in the family for seven generations of cows (and holy cute calves, batman!) and grass feed their cows.  The creamery side of the business has been in existence for a couple years now and they’ve already won multiple awards.  They also have restaurants in St. Louis and Chicago vying for the cheese wheels!

Folks, I wouldn’t just tell you this stuff was excellent if it was just okay.  No, no. It. is. excellent.  I mean, if you like Artisan cheese, small, family-owned businesses, and ethical farming.

But that’s all a digression.  A while ago, Beth dogsat Kobuk on the farm while we swung over to Missouri to visit our Missouri bffs (I’ve decided to call all my friends bffs, like I’m 13 again. duh).  We got to poke our head in the door of creamery shop, where you can see into the processing and production room (the making of cheese is fascinating).

Beth mentioned that they were looking to give the store-front a fresh look.  Sign me up, I said!

While there is a lot remaining that we didn’t accomplish (you know, knocking out walls and things of that nature) we’re all pretty pleased with what we got done.

Here’s the what the shop looked like before (sorry about the poor picture quality… I played total slackerbutt with the camera and stole these pics from Beth’s iphone)…

View from behind the counter (straight ahead, after you enter), before (also, Tony, part of the family.  Tony did knock out half a wall while I was there, which was peeeerrrrfect).

View from down the hallway (which is to your left, after you enter) on the left wall.  On the right wall are windows into the different cheese production rooms.  Before.

In this before picture, you can see a bit of the counter on the left (a lovely cedar piece), the freezer case (they sell salmon for all you fishy types!), and the refrigeration unit (where the cheese angels live).  Before.

The “during”:

We decided to rearrange the “furniture”.  Not pictured in the before is an ice cream dipping station, to serve hard ice cream (the ice cream mix is produced by another family farm, and the creamery makes it their own.  I highly recommend the cookies and cream).

When in doubt, move the furniture.

And take breaks to “supervise” the making of Tomato-Basil Jack cheese.  {Cheese making tip: Awkward squatting not required. I merely wanted you to see my super-awesome clear booties.}

We started our freshening challenge by giving the wall behind the counter a coat of chalkboard paint (I told some farmers that stopped in during the refresh that it was all the rage in shops like this in New York City.  They were not impressed with my knowledge of the big city).

I chalked up Marcoot Jersey Creamery in their letterhead.

I’m pretty certain black chalkboard walls + cedar counters = meant to be together.  Look at how happy they are, complementing each other.
We also rearranged some chalkboards they already had.
That’s the freezer case, in it’s new home, just to the left of the entrance in the hallway….
And the completed wall!

Garlic herb cheese curds will change your life.

In the Greenville location, Marcoot Jersey Creamery also sells products produced by other small businesses, including fresh milk, cream, jams and fruit butters, popcorn, organic teas, and sauces.

We changed the way some of these products are displayed, using super awesome vintage pieces.  Check out that old milk can!

There were some really great vintage pieces we put of reach from children, like old milk bottles and a lantern on top of the refrigerator chest.  The chalkboards are hung right next to the refrigerator chest so that prices are super easy to find (oh!  the chocolate milk is also quite tasty!  Jared approved:)!

This is the ice cream dipping station, in it’s new home (to the right of the counter). Some of the awards and articles featuring the Marcoot Jersey Creamery hang behind.

Fun fact: that board on the top of the bookcase on the right is a piece of ash wood.  The Marcoot Jersey Creamery has a cheese cave (I got to go inside–super fascinating!) where the cave aged cheeses are… aged (I’m here to state the obvious).  All the shelves that the cheese wheels age on are made of ash wood, as scent/flavor of ash does not become absorbed by the cheese as other types of wood would be.

My work here is done!  It was super fun to hang out with Beth and the Marcoot family!  If you’re looking for a great artisan cheese, I highly recommend them!

ps: Greenville out of your driving distance?  Marcoot Jersey Creamer visits 2 farmers markets a week: two in St. Louis (the Schafly bottleworks on Wednesday’s from 4-7pm) and one in Carbondale (every other Saturday morning right next to the Murdale shopping center, 8am-noon: they’ll be at the market on the 18th of August).

pps: not from southern illinois?  marcoot jersey creamery will ship to you!  they also offer phenomenal cheese packages for the christmas season!  check them out on facebook!

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